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Cubs vs. Royals at Mesa and vs. Indians at Las Vegas preview, Sunday 3/18, 3:05 CT

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The Cubs split up again for two Sunday games, and a former Cub has a new home.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — It didn't take long for Justin Grimm to get a new job:

I suppose he could even get into today's game, but that's unlikely. I wish him well and the Cubs will face the Royals during the regular season, August 6-7-8 at Kansas City.

Could non-roster invitee Justin Hancock be a dark-horse candidate for the last spot in the bullpen, replacing Grimm?

Hancock, a non-roster invitee, entered Friday’s game with two out and nobody on base against the White Sox and struck out Jose Abreu to end the inning.

“This guy has a great arm,” Maddon said of Hancock, who was acquired last season from the Padres organization for outfielder Matt Szczur. “(Abreu) was the perfect hitter for Hancock to face. He’s been working on things. He’s uber aggressive, which I loved.

“I wanted him to know afterwards, ‘You realize that’s one of the top 10 hitters in the American League?’ I’m trying to build the guy’s confidence. So he’s got that kind of stuff — A-lister stuff — which didn’t surprise me. But I wanted him to know that’s what he’s more capable of on a more consistent basis.”

Hancock is 27 and was the ninth-round pick of the Padres in 2011. His minor-league numbers have never been all that impressive, but he was just converted to full-time relief a year ago. He has shown excellent velocity (mid to high 90s) and has struck out six in 4⅓ innings this spring (small sample size alert).

Hancock is not on the 40-man roster, so a spot would have to be opened for him (this presumes Chris Gimenez will get the one 40-man spot already opened by the departure of Grimm).

Site note for today’s games: They both start at the same time (3:05 p.m. CT), so there will be just one set of threads for both. I’ll be at the Sloan Park game and will recap both of them after that one is over.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup vs. Royals:

Zobrist 2B, Baez SS, Contreras C, Schwarber LF, Almora CF, La Stella 3B, Navarro 1B, Bourjos RF, Chatwood P

Royals lineup:

Jay CF, Cuthbert 3B, Moustakas DH, Schwindel 1B, Gordon LF, Soler RF, Goins SS, Butera C, Arteaga 2B

Two old friends in KC’s lineup, Jon Jay and Jorge Soler.

No lineups were available at posting time for the Las Vegas game. Check the BCB Twitter feed for those lineups.

Tyler Chatwood starts for the Cubs against the Royals. Mike Montgomery, Craig Brooks and David Garner are also scheduled for this game.

Danny Duffy gets the call for Kansas City. Also on KC’s list today: Burch Smith, Kevin McCarthy and Glenn Sparkman.

Rob Zastryzny starts for the Cubs against the Indians. Also scheduled for the Cubs in Las Vegas: Dillon Maples, Cory Mazzoni, Alec Mills and Alberto Baldonado.

Stephen Fife will go for the Indians. Relievers for Cleveland in Las Vegas: Tyler Olson, Carlos Torres, Preston Claiborne, Alexi Ogando and our old friend Neil Ramirez.

Today’s game at Sloan Park vs. the Royals is only being carried by the Royals network Fox Sports Kansas City — no Cubs radio/TV for this one.

Today’s game in Las Vegas vs. the Indians will be on 670 The Score with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer, and on NBC Sports Chicago with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies.

MLB.com Gameday for Cubs/Royals

MLB.com Gameday for Cubs/Indians

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 Indians site Let’s Go Tribe and our Royals site Royals Review. If you do go there to interact with Indians or Royals 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.