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Cubs vs. Angels at Mesa preview, Monday 3/2, 2:05 CT

It’s the return of Joe Maddon to Sloan Park.

He looks weird in this red uniform
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

MESA, Arizona — The Cubs are a split squad today. One part of the split squad will face Joe Maddon’s Angels in an afternoon contest at Sloan Park. The other half will play the Athletics at Hohokam Stadium tonight. I will have complete information on the night game, lineups, etc. in the game recap for the afternoon game.

Now, about Joe Maddon. I will never, ever have a bad word to say about Joe. He was one of the most important factors in bringing us the World Series championship we had dreamed about all our lives. Toward the end of the 2019 season I was in favor of bringing him back for another year. Given what we have learned since, though, it’s clear Theo & Co. made the right decision.

Maddon was the right choice for the Cubs when he was hired. And David Ross is the right choice to manage the Cubs at this moment in time. For his part, Maddon had nice things to say about Ross:

Cubs players have raved about the “energy” Ross has brought to camp.

“I love it,” Maddon said. “I’m happy to hear that. We all have different messages, different methods. We talked about that earlier, David coming in here with a different method. It could be good for the group. I hope it is good for the group.

“These are my guys. I want them to do extremely well. However that is being portrayed, that’s great. But I think you can see that (energy) almost anywhere.”

For their part, Cubs players are looking forward to seeing Joe:

“It will be fun to see Joe, Bussy, Butter, all those former Cub friends,” said right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who’s set to start for the Cubs. ”In baseball, guys are always moving around and we keep these relationships long past the time we play with or for someone.”

Maddon was a more than just a manager to so many Cubs. He was a friend, mentor and confidante.

”Just to see him over there enjoying the managing role again will be fun,” Cubs outfielder Ian Happ said. “Seeing the other guys like Bussy too will be great. Joe had a strong impact on my life personally, as did the other former Cub people he has with him. I am looking forward to it.”

And you might recall what Joe said about the Cubs when he was hired in Anaheim last October [VIDEO].

Now wouldn’t that be something? A Cubs/Angels World Series? Maddon vs. Ross as managers?

We can dream, right?

It should be noted there’s a slight chance of showers this afternoon, though I think they’ll get this one in without any problems.

Lastly, here’s an update on Manuel Rodriguez, who left Sunday’s game with an injury:

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Baez SS, Schwarber LF, Contreras DH, Caratini C, Souza RF, Happ CF, Hoerner 2B

Angels lineup:

La Stella 2B, Goodwin RF, Castro C, Stassi DH, Thaiss 3B, Ward LF, Rojas 1B, Alcantara SS, Lund CF

The Angels had a split-squad game Sunday, so no Mike Trout today. Plus, Trout was kind of busy last night:

But there’s a Tommy La Stella sighting — and yes, that’s former Cub Arismendy Alcantara playing shortstop for Joe Maddon’s team.

Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs. Cubs relievers today: Jeremy Jeffress, Dan Winkler, Jharel Cotton and Tyson Miller.

Julio Teheran will go for the Angels. Other Angels pitchers scheduled: Matt Andriese, Cam Bedrosian, Luke Bard and JC Ramirez.

Also of interest (note, time listed is Eastern):

Today’s game is on ESPN — full national broadcast, everyone can watch. Jon Sciambi will call play-by-play with Jessica Mendoza as analyst. ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers will be a field reporter.

Radio today: KLAA 830, with the Angels announcers. Available over-the-air in the Los Angeles area.

This game will be rebroadcast on MLB Network at 8 a.m. CT on Tuesday. 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.

As noted above, a split squad of Cubs will play the Athletics at HoHoKam Stadium at 8:05 p.m. CT. That game will be televised nationally on MLB Network.

Please visit our SB Nation Angels site Halos Heaven. If you do go there to interact with Angels 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 2 p.m. CT and 3:30 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.