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Cubs vs. Indians at Mesa and Cubs vs. Angels at Tempe Preview, Friday 3/7, 2:05 CT

The Cubs have another split-squad day Friday. This time, it won't rain.

Christian Petersen

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Sunshine has returned today and the Cubs will play another split-squad day. Unlike the last one, which had two games rained out, today's games will give quite a few players the chance to show what they can do, before the first round of roster cuts, which I would expect to come early next week.

At the risk of reopening a contentious argument here from last week, I present to you this Boston Globe article about chewing tobacco, and call your attention specifically to these parts:

Smokeless tobacco use stubbornly remains a part of baseball, even though Major League Baseball has tried to discourage its use for the last few years because it is known to increase the risk of cancer. While smokeless tobacco use is not as prevalent in baseball as it was several years ago, a survey of the 58 Red Sox players invited to spring training this year found 21 who admitted to using it.
Fears that players’ children, and young fans, will follow their lead are well founded. A survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2009 found that 15 percent of high school boys were using smokeless tobacco, a 36 percent increase from 2003.
Because tobacco use is prohibited in the minor leagues and most levels of amateur baseball, many younger players arrive in the majors unfamiliar with it. But two Sox prospects, outfielder Bryce Brentz and lefthander Drake Britton, said the minor league tobacco ban is only casually enforced.

“I did it in the minors,” Britton said. “The people who want to can still do it. They’ll look in your locker to see if you have it, but that’s really it.”

Yes, I know. It's a legal product. So are cigarettes, but there are many places where smoking is banned. If baseball wants to eliminate smokeless tobacco use -- and I would argue they absolutely should -- they need to start enforcing the ban in the minor leagues. If no minor leaguers use it, eventually no major leaguers will use it.

Cubs lineup:

Barney DH, Roberts 2B, Rizzo 1B, Ruggiano RF, Sweeney CF, Baez SS, Kottaras C, Bryant 3B, Cunningham LF

As far as I can tell, this is the first time Darwin Barney has been a DH since he started his professional career.

Indians lineup:

Morgan CF, Aviles SS, Chisenhall 3B, Gomes C, Giambi DH, Raburn LF, Francoeur RF, Johnson 2B, Cooper 1B

Cubs lineup:

Coghlan LF, Valbuena 2B, Lake CF, Olt DH, Valaika SS, Wells RF, Vitters 1B, Baker C, Villanueva 3B

Angels lineup:

Calhoun RF, Trout CF, Pujols 1B, Ibanez DH, Freese 3B, Kendrick 2B, Shuck LF, Conger C, Aybar SS

Edwin Jackson starts for the Cubs in Mesa. He will face Carlos Carrasco. Also scheduled for the Tribe: Corey Kluber, Vinnie Pestano, Blake Wood and Bryan Price.

James McDonald starts for the Cubs in Tempe. He will face the Angels' Hector Santiago.

Today's game vs. the Indians in Mesa is on with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie.

Today's game vs. the Angels in Tempe is on FSN West in the Los Angeles area and if you have a MLB.TV subscription, you can watch online. Gameday for Cubs/Indians Gameday for Cubs/Angels

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's games, that will be 2 p.m. CT and 3:30 p.m. CT (there won't be separate threads for the two games, just use these). 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.