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Cubs vs. Giants at Mesa preview, Thursday 3/21, 3:05 CT

We’ll see an old friend going for the Giants today.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

MESA, Arizona — Remember that bunt single Anthony Rizzo put down against the shift on Tuesday?

You might see more of that this year:

Anthony Rizzo’s bunt that ignited a three-run rally Tuesday was endorsed by Maddon as a way to prevent teams from employing shifts against the pull-happy left-handed slugger.

“If they want that shift to soften, they have to do that,” Maddon said.

When he managed the Rays, Maddon would use four-man outfield alignments and shifts to the right side to combat left-handed sluggers such as David Ortiz of the Red Sox, Jim Thome of the White Sox, Travis Hafner of the Indians and Jason Giambi of the Yankees.

“At that time, we thought it was a victory even if they bunted for a single,” Maddon said. “I think the way the game is played and the way the offenses are, that was the American League East, when there were a lot of runs and it was hard to keep them from scoring runs.

“Now with runs at a premium, it may have shifted into a better play.”

Maddon said Rizzo’s bunt was executed perfectly, as he pushed the ball down the third-base side past the pitcher.

“If it’s there, we might take advantage of it, if possible,” Maddon said.

I’m all in favor of this. Obviously you don’t want a power hitter like Rizzo to bunt every time he’s at the plate. But doing it every once in a while might spread out the shift somewhat and allow him (and perhaps other hitters teams shift against like Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward) a bigger area of the field on which to hit.

Cubs lineup:

Almora CF, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Bote SS, Happ 2B, Evans 3B, Caratini C, Hendricks P, Zagunis RF

Giants lineup:

Duggar CF, Solarte 2B, Belt 1B, Longoria 3B, Crawford SS, Williamson LF, Joyce RF, Garcia C, Samardzija P

Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs. Cubs relievers today: Brian Duensing, Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler, Allen Webster and Brad Brach.

Jeff Samardzija will go for the Giants. Relievers scheduled for the Giants: Sam Dyson, Reyes Moronta, Ty Blach and Travis Bergen.

Today’s game is on No TV today. 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 Mediacenter for today.

Please visit our SB Nation Giants site McCovey Chronicles. If you do go there to interact with Giants 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 tonight, 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.