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Cubs vs. Japan at Mesa & vs. Brewers at Maryvale Preview, Saturday 3/18, 3:05 CT

The Cubs split their squad Saturday afternoon.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Team Japan is using today's game as a tune-up before they head to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles on Tuesday against the winner of tonight's USA/Dominican Republic game. There will be a game thread for the WBC game tonight. The game starts at 9 p.m. CT; the game thread will post at 8:30 p.m. CT.

Here's what Josh wrote about Team Japan earlier this month before the tournament began:

There’s no Ichiro Suzuki this time and the one player we all wanted to see, pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani, had to pull out with an ankle injury. The only major leaguer on Team Japan’s roster is Astros outfielder Nori Aoki. The rest of the team comes from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of talent. Second baseman Tetsuto Yamada has hit over .300 with at least 30 home runs and 30 steals in each of the past two seasons and he’s also only 24 years old. I expect that he will be playing in MLB in the near future.

In fact, many Americans got their first exposure to future Japanese MLB stars in the WBC, such as Yu Darvish or Kenta Maeda. Two more pitchers who may end up in MLB one day are right-handed starters Takahiro Norimoto and Shintaro Fujinami. Norimoto is a short right-hander, but he’s got a major-league-quality fastball. Fujinami is big (6’5") and young (22) with the potential to be a #2/#3 starter in the majors. He’s still a raw product and struggles with control, so he may be a few years away from crossing the ocean.

Outfielder/First baseman Sho Nakata and shortstop Hayato Sakamoto return from the 2013 WBC team. Japan will be counting on their offense if they want to win their third WBC title.

Unfortunately, there is no US TV of this game, although it is being carried live in Japan.

The other half of the Cubs takes on the Brewers at Maryvale this afternoon.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup at Maryvale vs Brewers:

Schwarber RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Russell SS, Contreras C, La Stella 2B, Almora CF, Jay LF, Andreoli DH

Brewers lineup:

Sogard DH, Thames 1B, Shaw 3B, Santana RF, Nieuwenhuis CF, Pina C, De Jesus 2B, Rivera SS, Wren LF

Cubs lineup at Mesa vs Team Japan:

Kawasaki SS, Zobrist 2B, Heyward RF, Szczur CF, Montero C, Happ LF, Candelario 3B, Dominguez 1B, Lackey P

This will be the first time a Cubs pitcher has batted this spring.

There was no information on Team Japan's lineup nor pitchers at the time I wrote this preview. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for info on Team Japan for today's game.

Jake Buchanan will start for the Cubs vs. the Brewers. Others scheduled at Maryvale: Aaron Brooks, Felix Pena, Jose Rosario and Pierce Johnson.

Brent Suter gets the call for the Brewers. Others scheduled for the Brewers: Paolo EspinoRyan Webb, Neftali Feliz and Joba Chamberlain. Junior Guerra was supposed to start this game, but as the Brewers are a division rival, they have apparently decided not to give Cubs hitters an extra look at him.

John Lackey will start for the Cubs vs. Team Japan. Others scheduled at Mesa: Dylan FloroDallas Beeler, Wade Davis, Pedro Strop and Brian Duensing.

Today’s game at Mesa vs. Team Japan is on with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie.

Today’s game at Maryvale vs. the Brewers is on 670 The Score with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer. It’s also on FSN Wisconsin with the Brewers broadcast team and will be available on Gameday for Cubs/Brewers Gameday for Cubs/Team Japan

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today.

Please visit our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. If you do go there to interact with Brewers fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

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 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. 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 Night.

Discuss amongst yourselves.