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Cubs vs. Diamondbacks at Mesa preview, Thursday 3/15, 3:05 CT

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Two weeks till Opening Day!

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — If you have been wondering when Javier Baez will return from the minor hamstring injury he suffered last week, the answer is “soon”:

On Tuesday, Baez took batting practice, tested his arm and ran. What’s next?

”I’m trying to get going,” he said. “We’ll see. We’re going day by day. Hopefully, I can take some [at-bats on Thursday], and Friday or Saturday, I can play.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon confirmed they hope to get Baez in a game either Friday or Saturday.

The same article notes Victor Caratini is “day to day” after the collision he had at the plate Tuesday evening, and Pedro Strop, who has not appeared in a game yet this spring (“tender left calf,” which is also a rock band name), might also see game action this weekend.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Almora CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Russell SS, Zobrist 2B, Schwarber LF, Heyward RF, Caratini C, Hendricks P

For the first time this spring, a Cubs pitcher will bat.

Diamondbacks lineup:

Dyson RF, Owings 3B, Herrmann DH, Walker 1B, Avila C, Tomas LF, Descalso 2B, Ahmed SS, Brito CF

Many of the D-backs regulars are skipping this one, but we will see former Cub Alex Avila start this afternoon.

Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs. The only listed reliever for the Cubs today is Kyle Ryan, so expect Hendricks to throw at least six, maybe seven innings. If other pitchers are needed, expect them to be among the group from the minor league camp.

Robbie Ray gets the call for the Diamondbacks.

Today’s game is on cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. No TV today.

MLB.com Gameday

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.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

Please visit our SB Nation Diamondbacks site AZ Snakepit. If you do go there to interact with Diamondbacks 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.

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 Day.

Discuss amongst yourselves.