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Cubs vs. Rangers at Mesa preview, Thursday 3/5, 2:05 CT

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The Cubs return to Sloan Park Thursday afternoon.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

MESA, ArizonaThis cubs.com article by Jordan Bastian has some comments on various Cubs players who are having good springs.

I was most taken by this comment by Jason Kipnis:

“They have a core the way we had one in Cleveland,” Kipnis said. “The way they mess around with each other, it’s been like, ‘I haven’t seen this in a few years. God, I missed this.’ I’m used to this environment. It reminds me of the one I had.

”So, I can see the relationships have developed over years with these guys and how comfortable they are with each other. It’s fun to be around. It gets me more excited about the season ahead of us.”

I believe these things matter. Players spend more time with each other during the season than they do with their families. A good clubhouse atmosphere can be conducive to winning.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

Rangers lineup:

Taveras RF, Solak CF, Calhoun LF, Guzman 1B, Travis DH, Kiner-Falefa SS, Apostel 3B, Huff C, Tejeda 2B

The Rangers are a split squad today.

Yu Darvish was supposed to start for the Cubs, but he was scratched due to the flu. James Norwood, who was on the reliever list for today, will throw his one inning as the "opener." Other Cubs relievers scheduled today: Jeremy Jeffress, Dillon Maples, Jason Adam, Wyatt Short and Oscar De La Cruz. It will be the first spring outing for Maples.

Jonathan Hernandez will go for the Rangers. Rangers relievers: Cody Allen, Jimmy Herget, Brian Flynn, Luis Garcia and Arturo Reyes.

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

Today’s game is on the Marquee Network. 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 right away. This is new to all of us and I would anticipate glitches. Hopefully it all gets squared away by Opening Day, including Marquee deals with Comcast and YouTube TV, among others.

Radio today: MLB.com webcast with the Rangers announcers (audio link will be in the Mediacenter link below).

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 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 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.