The Cubs will try to prove that declining a team option on Kendall Graveman was a good idea as they welcome the Mariners to Sloan Park Sunday afternoon. Kris Bryant leads off, followed by Anthony Rizzo, Javy Báez, Jason Heyward, and Willson Contreras, all in their usual spots.
Jason Kipnis starts at second, Albert Almora Jr. is in center, Daniel Descalso is the DH, and Ian Miller handles the duties in left field. It’s a little disappointing that we’re not seeing Steven Souza Jr. on the first day of March, but perhaps he’ll lead the parade of bench bats.
Jon Lester is on the mound for the second time, which means we should see a little more of his repertoire. He was really just pumping fastballs as he allowed five runs in his debut outing, but he said afterwards that he felt stronger than he had in recent years.
Trevor Megill is scheduled to lead the relief corps, so look to see how he mixes his new knuckle-curve in with the slider and a fastball that touches upper 90’s. Manuel Rodriguez, another hard thrower who was added to the 40-man this winter, will throw as well. Kyle Ryan, Oscar De La Cruz, Wyatt Short and Caleb Simpson are also listed.
First pitch is at 2:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score, so those of you without access to TV coverage can still listen. If you are one of the many fans still without Marquee, MLB.tv is running a free trial and doesn’t black out spring games.