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Cubs vs. Rangers at Mesa preview, Friday 3/22, 3:05 CT

The Cubs will again play two games today, one this afternoon, one this evening.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

MESA, ArizonaKris Bryant and David Bote played positions other than their usual ones Thursday. Bryant started in left field, Bote at shortstop. Does this mean anything?

The biggest test involves Bote, who could spell Javier Baez at short on occasion for the first 28 games while [Addison] Russell serves the balance of his suspension.

“The biggest thing in a situation like that is figuring out where to line up, where to go on plays,” said Maddon, who sees no issues with Bote’s lateral movement or arm strength. “That matters a lot. That’s more important than picking up and throwing.”

This is probably true. Bote has played shortstop several times this spring and I don’t see any issues with those things either. As of now, he’s the only backup shortstop likely to be on the 25-man Opening Day roster.

SITE NOTE: Today is a split-squad day, the last one this spring for the Cubs. The other game, Cubs at Indians, will begin at 8:05 p.m. CT. I am attending the game in Mesa, and will write a recap of that game that will also serve as a preview for the night game. All the threads for both games will reside in the same StoryStream.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 1B, Schwarber LF, Contreras C, Baez SS, Bote 3B, Heyward RF, Almora CF, Quintana P, Giambrone 2B

Rangers lineup:

Pence DH, Forsythe 2B, Cabrera 3B, Wisdom 1B, Santana CF, d’Arnaud SS, Bandy C, Granite RF, Thompson LF

A curiosity: Not one of the players in the Rangers lineup played a single game for them in the major leagues in 2018.

Jose Quintana will start for the Cubs. Cubs relievers today: Carl Edwards Jr., Tyler Chatwood, Brian Duensing and Brandon Kintzler. This will be back-to-back days for Duensing and Kintzler, and another opportunity to see how Chatwood fares in relief.

Zach McAllister will go for the Rangers. Rangers relievers: Jeanmar Gomez, Connor Sadzeck.

TV today! This afternoon’s game is on WGN-TV. This game also will have an audio webcast on 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 Rangers site Lone Star Ball. If you do go there to interact with Rangers 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.