SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- There might be only one undetermined spot in the Cubs' bullpen, and the oft-injured Neil Ramirez is hoping that spot goes to him:
Ramirez, who has been brought along slowly after suffering a shoulder injury last season, is scheduled to make his second appearance of the spring Monday in a split-squad game against the Rockies. "It's still early," said Ramirez, who pitched a scoreless inning Friday. "We're still building (strength) and not trying to do too much." Ramirez is out of minor-league options, and the Cubs must decide whether to carry seven or eight relievers.
The article goes on to say that the Cubs are still deciding between carrying seven or eight relievers. My personal preference has always been fewer relievers -- that gives an extra bench player for more flexibility. On the other hand, Joe Maddon has so many players who can play multiple positions that maybe eight relievers will work, and Ramirez has a good shot at that slot in the bullpen. If healthy, he's shown flashes of being one of the better relievers on the staff.
Now, here are the particulars for both of today's games. It's interesting to note that more regulars are going to the away game against the Rockies.
Cubs lineup vs. Royals at Mesa:
Zobrist 2B, Russell SS, Schwarber C, Baez CF, Victorino RF, La Stella 3B, Almora LF, Vogelbach DH, Negron 1B
Fuentes CF, Gordon LF, Hosmer 1B, Perez C, Infante DH, Martinez RF, Barmes SS, Dozier 3B, Calixte 2B
The Royals are also a split squad today.
Cubs lineup vs. Rockies at Talking Stick:
Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soler LF, Montero C, Davis DH, Alcantara 2B, Kawasaki SS
Blackmon CF, LeMahieu 2B, Gonzalez RF, Arenado 3B, Parra LF, Reynolds 1B, Hundley C, Casteel DH, Adames SS
At Mesa, Jason Hammel starts for the Cubs. Clayton Richard, Carl Edwards Jr., Andury Acevedo, Felix Pena, Jean Machi and Hector Rondon will follow, not necessarily in that order. Rondon will be making his spring debut.
Kris Medlen will go for the Royals and be followed by Luke Hochevar, Peter Moylan, Scott Alexander and David Huff.
At Talking Stick, Aaron Brooks starts for the Cubs. Neil Ramirez, Stephen Fife, Justin Grimm, Brandon Gomes and Edgar Olmos are also scheduled.
Jon Gray will go for the Rockies and be followed by Carlos Estevez, Simon Castro, Brock Huntzinger, Sam Moll and former Cub Gonzalez Germen.
A reminder, as noted in the headline, the Sloan Park game starts at 2:05 CT, the away game at Talking Stick at 2:10 CT.
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Please note that during spring training, Gameday doesn't usually go pitch-by-pitch as it does during the regular season -- usually, it will update after each at-bat.
For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at five minutes to 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. There will be just one set of threads for both games today.
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. There will also be a StoryStream on the front page with all the game thread links, as well as the recap after the game is over. The pitcher boxes and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.
Discuss amongst yourselves.