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Royals 7, Cubs 6: Back and forth

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The lead changed hands a couple of times in this one.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — After the night game Tuesday in Mesa, I opted to skip this one in the West Valley between the Cubs and Royals.

Turned out that was a good choice, as the teams traded extra-base hits and leads several times off pitchers who aren’t going to be on big-league rosters. Eventually the Royals overcame a 5-1 deficit and beat the Cubs 7-6.

Jacob Hannemann scored the first run on a sac fly by Anthony Rizzo after hitting a double. Hannemann also homered in this one, his first of the spring. But he’s already been reassigned to the minor-league camp, so that doesn’t mean much.

Ryan Court is still in big-league camp, and his home run off former Brewers hurler Wily Peralta was his third of this spring. That’s not going to get him a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s likely going to head to Iowa and I bet we see him sometime during the season. He’s played almost everywhere in the field this spring; in this one he played right field, with no miscues.

Court’s homer was part of a four-run inning that gave the Cubs a 5-1 lead at the time (thanks in part to two scoreless innings from Alec Mills), but Justin Wilson, who has otherwise had a good spring, got touched up for three hits, a walk and a run in his one inning of work, and then the Royals teed off on Cory Mazzoni for four runs, including a home run by a Royals minor leaguer named Frank Schwindel.

K.C. also scored a couple of runs off Dillon Maples, who has been pounded hard this spring. Maples is still throwing hard, hitting 95+ consistently, but hasn’t been getting results. Results, as you know, don’t mean much in these games. Maples will head to Iowa, where he will likely be the closer, and hopefully we’ll see good things there. I’d like to see Maples succeed and with Wilson and Justin Grimm likely not on the 2019 Cubs, he’ll have a good shot at the bullpen next year.

As you can see, not much happened in this game that will have any real significance to the 2018 Cubs, so I’m keeping this part of the recap short.

Jon Lester, who will take the ball two weeks from tomorrow in Miami in the season opener, will have significance to this year’s team, and he also threw Wednesday, in a minor-league game:

The hits and runs are of less significance here than the six strikeouts with just one walk, and 64 strikes in 89 pitches. Lester’s likely to try to get to 100 pitches in his next outing, then maybe throw three innings in the start after that, which would be his final tuneup for Opening Day.

The Cubs return to Sloan Park Thursday afternoon to face the Diamondbacks. Kyle Hendricks will go for the Cubs and Robbie Ray will take the mound for Arizona. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT. No TV again Thursday; audio coverage is on cubs.com.