Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the air. Those are the words that will ring from the mouth of Pat Hughes when the veteran broadcaster looks over a baseball field that will feature the Cubs first game in 2013. In their Spring Training opener, the Cubs will travel to Tempe Diablo stadium to face the Los Angeles Angels split-squad team. The game can be heard on WGN Radio with Hughes and Len Kasper in the radio booth for the 2:05 game.
Travis Wood will take the mound for the Cubs as both teams will utilize the designated hitter.
Chicago Cubs Lineup
- Logan Watkins, 2B
- Dave Sappelt, CF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Scott Hairston, RF
- Luis Valbuena, 3B
- Welington Castillo, C
- Brett Jackson, LF
- Brent Lillibridge, SS
- Darnell McDonald, DH
- Do not overlook the fact that it is only Spring Training. If Logan Watkins hits for the cycle today against the Angels, while an impressive feat, that does not mean that the prospect will unseat Darwin Barney as the team’s starting second baseman. Having said that, this is the first baseball game for the Cubs since the first week of October. Be excited for baseball but not necessarily the outcomes of the games being played during Spring Training.
- Speaking of Watkins, the prospect has versatility and is capable of playing multiple infield positions. Watkins projects as an utility player for a Major League team and utility players always seem to find a way on a Major League roster. With the Tennessee Smokies last season, Watkins hit .281/.383/.422 in 588 plate appearances.
- The news is not good for third baseman Ian Stewart. A MRI revealed that Stewart suffered a mild to moderate strain during the Cubs intra-squad game earlier this week and will miss the next 10 to 14 days. After opting to have season-ending wrist surgery in June of the 2012 season, the Cubs signed Stewart to a non-guaranteed contract for the 2013 season. Stewart’s contract is worth $2 million but the Cubs have the opportunity to cut the third baseman by March 16 and only owe Stewart $333K of the $2 million, or by the end of Spring Training and owe $500K. Hopefully, this injury does not impact the Stewart for the long-term and the third baseman can remain a part of the Cubs’ 2013 roster.
- Third base prospect Josh Vitters suffered a similar injury as Stewart’s and will also be sidelined for the next 10 to 14 days. Expect a player like Brent Lillibridge to secure his spot with the Cubs over the next two weeks, and a player like Luis Valbuena to continue to prove to Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum that he is dependable.