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Cubs vs. Indians at Mesa Preview, Saturday 3/9, 2:05 CT

They'll try to play baseball again in the Valley of the Sun Saturday -- but there's another chance of showers in the afternoon.


SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- It will be a nicer day in the Valley of the Sun Saturday than it was Friday. That's a pretty low bar to hurdle, as Friday brought temperatures in the 40s, heavy rain, thunderstorms and hail that washed out all nine scheduled Cactus League games.

Saturday's forecast is for temperatures near 60, with a few scattered showers. So the Cubs and Indians will try to get their game in at Mesa. Once again, the start is being given to a pitcher who has little chance of making the Opening Day roster (Chris Rusin).

With Team Italy's surprising run in the World Baseball Classic -- they would clinch a spot in the second round with a win over the USA Saturday night, and have a pretty good shot at that even if they lose -- Anthony Rizzo could be away from Cubs camp for several more days. And he's already a winner:

"He got a lot of money in his charity," manager Dale Sveum said. "We all said if (Italy) won a game we would give him $5OO (apiece) for his charity."

Sveum didn't know how many players and coaches offered to contribute, though the remarks were taped and he said he would go back and look at the video to "make sure we didn't say $5OO for every win."

Good for Rizzo, good for his charity, good for baseball. In addition to the Italy/USA game, scheduled for 8 p.m. CT, these games will also be played in the WBC Saturday:

Canada vs. Mexico at Phoenix, 12:3O CT
Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela at San Juan, 3:3O CT

Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to start for Venezuela, so that might be of interest to people here.

The linked article above also says that Scott Baker is on schedule; he pitched without incident in a sim game Friday, will throw in a minor-league game next week and then be placed in the Cactus League rotation. He's on target for a mid-April return, and the way things are going, he'll probably pitch in an actual game before Matt Garza does.

Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead before you go to sleep Saturday night; Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. local time Sunday -- at least for everyone outside Arizona. Those of us who are in AZ (as well as a few other places in North America) remain on Standard Time.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Baez SS, Castillo C, Schierholtz RF, Hairston DH, Valbuena 3B, Chavez LF, Nelson 1B, Watkins 2B

Indians lineup:

Bourn CF, Kipnis 2B, Giambi DH, Swisher 1B, Chisenhall 3B, Marson C, Carrera RF, Diaz SS, Hunter LF

This afternoon, as noted above the Cubs will start lefthander Chris Rusin. He'll face the Tribe's David Huff. Brooks Raley and Alberto Cabrera will also go for the Cubs today. Gameday

Today's game at Mesa will be on WGN radio with Len Kasper again filling in for Pat Hughes, and Keith Moreland with color commmentary.

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 2 p.m. CT and 3:30 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.