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Cubs vs. Athletics at Mesa preview, Saturday 2/22, 7:10 CT

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After a switch from a day game to a night game, here we go with spring 2020!

Al Yellon

After a long and not-wonderful offseason, we will have Cubs baseball on Saturday evening, weather permitting. Keep this handy for updates on rain in the Phoenix area:

The A’s are probably rooting for a postponement because they have a split squad date on Sunday:

“Not ideal before a split-squad the next day,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin, who noted that the A’s have 26 pitchers to cover 27 innings between Saturday’s game and games Sunday against the Giants at Hohokam Stadium and at the Diamondbacks.

That’s a lot of pitchers. The Cubs have 36 pitchers in camp, though not all of them are available this week. The regular rotation won’t likely appear for a few days, and Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Morrow are being brought along slowly:

Craig Kimbrel said he is scheduled to throw live batting practice within the “next couple days.” Kimbrel and pitching coach Tommy Hottovy have mapped out a conservative throwing program so far in camp, and the closer will be eased into Cactus League appearances.

”Craig will be on his own program,” said [manager David] Ross, who noted that Brandon Morrow falls into the same category. “Guys are throwing sides in different areas just for our different purposes. Tommy kind of plans all that stuff out. But yeah, it’ll be a little bit before you see Craig probably in a game.”

Don’t read more into this than is right there. This is a specific plan for those two and they are expected to be ready for Opening Day.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game:

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Baez SS, Heyward RF, Contreras C, Kipnis 2B, Souza LF, Bote DH, Almora CF

Athletics lineup:

Mateo SS, Grossman LF, Laureano CF, Canha RF, Pinder DH, Brown 1B, Barreto 2B, Neuse 3B, Heim C

Alec Mills will start for the Cubs. Cubs relievers today, in alphabetical order: Jason Adam, Rex Brothers, Jharel Cotton, Dakota Mekkes, James Norwood, Tyler Olson, CD Pelham, Duane Underwood Jr.

We aren’t likely to see the five pitchers who will make up the Cubs rotation this year in games until next week. And here’s someone else who won’t be at Sloan Park tonight:

Another interesting David Ross note: Ross joins Frank Chance, Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers as the only players to win a World Series as a Cub and later manage the team.

A.J. Puk will go for the A’s. Among A’s relievers scheduled: Lou Trivino, Wandisson Charles, Miguel Romero, Parker Dunshee, Ben Bracewell and Brian Schlitter. Yes, THAT Brian Schlitter.

Today’s game is on the Marquee Network, which made its debut this afternoon. Here is a complete channel guide for all the providers currently signed up with Marquee. Note that it is possible some of these channels might not be up and running on the first day. Glitches have already been reported. This is new to everyone and I would anticipate those will be fixed soon. Hopefully it all gets squared away by Opening Day, including a Marquee deal with Comcast.

This game was supposed to be on 670 The Score, but due to the time change the radio broadcast has been cancelled. The A’s are planning an audio webcast, which you can access below via the Mediacenter link. Most teams playing the Cubs will be doing that this spring, so if you don’t have access to Marquee, or The Score isn’t carrying the game, you can still listen to it via the other team’s audiocast.

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 Athletics site Athletics Nation. If you do go there to interact with A’s 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 7:05 p.m. CT and 8:30 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.