SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — I’m sticking around Arizona for a while before heading back to Chicago, since the Cubs home opener isn’t until April 9.
The Cubs, though, have departed for Florida, where they’ll face the Red Sox at Fort Myers tonight and tomorrow afternoon, then have Wednesday off before the season opener Thursday at Miami.
Site note: the recap of this game will post tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. CT.
Ian Happ, who hit five leadoff homers in Cactus League play, will be the team’s leadoff hitter (most of the time, anyway):
“He made it known to us from the beginning that he wants to do it,” manager Joe Maddon said on Sunday. “He came in with a purpose. You look at his body and how well he looks, and how committed he’s been to becoming a better outfielder. He came in with a purpose. He’s so committed to his craft, but when I talked to him inside, he has a nice perspective on life. I think he’s gone about everything properly.”
Happ, 23, hit 24 home runs and batted .253 in 115 games last season, playing both the outfield and second base. This spring, he’s been focused on center field. The switch-hitter belted his seventh spring home run on Saturday night against the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez.
”He’s taken to it really well, he wants to do it,” Maddon said about Happ leading off. “He has the attributes to do it. I don’t want him to change, I want him to maintain his strike zone discipline.”
Here are today’s particulars.
Happ CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Russell SS, Schwarber LF, Caratini C, Heyward RF, Baez 2B, La Stella DH
Red Sox lineup:
Betts RF, Martinez LF, Ramirez DH, Moreland 1B, Bogaerts SS, Bradley Jr. CF, Devers 3B, Holt 2B, Leon C
Yu Darvish will start for the Cubs.
Rick Porcello gets the call for the Red Sox.
Today’s reliever lists were not available at posting time. So we’ll all be surprised!
Today’s game is on cubs.com with Len Kasper. TV coverage is via NESN, the Red Sox network. The game will be on MLB Network on a one-hour delay beginning at 6 p.m. CT.
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.
Please visit our SB Nation Red Sox site Over The Monster. If you do go there to interact with Red Sox 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 5 p.m. CT and 6:30 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.