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Cubs vs. Athletics and Cubs vs. Rangers Preview, Sunday 3/17, 3:05 CT

The Cubs will spend St. Patrick's Day playing a team that wears green every day, as well as finishing up their "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" trip.


SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Scott Baker. Remember him? The Cubs signed him to a one-year, $5.5 million (with incentive clauses) contract this past offseason. He hasn't pitched since 2011, recovering from Tommy John surgery. Before the surgery, he was an effective pitcher for the Twins for several seasons.

Sunday, he'll make his Cubs debut. It hasn't been announced how far he'll go into the game, but I'd suspect, as most starters do when they are first taking the ball for spring games, he probably won't go more than two, maybe three innings.

In today's Sun-Times, Chris DeLuca has a good writeup on Baker's return from the surgery.

More injury news: Brett Jackson was likely not going to make the 25-man roster anyway; it had been announced a while ago that he was going to head to Iowa. Now he's got shoulder inflammation and won't play for about a week.

Expect some roster cuts Monday, and probably more Wednesday, the off day; the Cubs still have well over 50 players in camp and Opening Day is just two weeks away. Most of the cuts will not be any surprise.

Here are some details re: some of those cuts:

Josh Vitters -- bit of a surprise, as I thought they might want to get him a few more at-bats in major-league ST games. (Plus, the Cubs still need a third baseman.)

Cubs lineup vs. A's:

DeJesus DH, Baez SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Lillibridge CF, Sappelt RF, Castillo C, Villanueva 3B, Gonzalez 2B

Athletics lineup:

Sogard 2B, Peterson LF, Young CF, Cespedes DH, Moss 1B, Jaso C, Donaldson 3B, Nakajima SS, Taylor RF

Cubs lineup vs. Rangers:

Valbuena 3b, Barney 2b, Castro ss, Schierholtz rf, Hairston cf, Navarro dh, McDonald lf, Nelson 1b, Boscan c

Once again, no Rangers lineup was available at posting time.

This afternoon, Scott Baker makes his Cubs debut against the A's in Phoenix; Oakland counters with Tom Milone. On the reliever list for this game: Casey Coleman, Rafael Dolis, Cory Wade and Jensen Lewis.

In Las Vegas, Carlos Villanueva gets the nod against Texas' Robbie Ross. Cubs relievers in Vegas: Esmailin Caridad (wow, he's still around?), Hector Rondon and Trey McNutt. Gameday for Cubs/Rangers Gameday for Cubs/A's

Note for the Cubs/Rangers game: MLB's scoreboard page lists the Cubs as the "home" team for this game; this hasn't always been a reliable indicator of who actually does bat first, so you'll have to find out for sure when the game starts!

Today's game at Phoenix will be televised on WGN-TV with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Today's game in Las Vegas will be on WGN radio with Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland. The Vegas game is being carried on the Rangers' TV network, FSN Southwest, so if you have MLB.TV, you should be able to watch it.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today.

For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today, that will be 3 p.m. CT and 4:30 p.m. CT. These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. They will also appear in this StoryStream™. The pitcher box and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.

Discuss amongst yourselves.