MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs' projected starting five will make their first Cactus League starts next week, and Jonathan Lester appears to be lined up to start Opening Day.Tyler Chatwood will make his Cubs debut on Monday against the Mariners, and will be followed by Lester on Tuesday against the
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs' projected starting five will make their first Cactus League starts next week, and Jonathan Lester appears to be lined up to start Opening Day.
Tyler Chatwood will make his Cubs debut on Monday against the Mariners, and will be followed by Lester on Tuesday against the White Sox, Kyle Hendricks on Wednesday against the Athletics, and Yu Darvish on Thursday against the Rockies. All four games will be played at Sloan Park. Each of the starters was expected to go one or two innings as they are eased back into action.
Should we read anything into the rotation order as far as Opening Day?
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"Of course you should, because that's what you do," manager Joe Maddon said Saturday. "We'll make the announcement early next week."
Maddon has delayed officially saying who will start Opening Day, March 29, against the Marlins, because he wanted to make sure all of the starters were told privately. Lester has made six Opening Day starts in his career, including twice with the Cubs in 2015 and '17.
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Darvish, who signed a six-year deal with the Cubs this month, tuned up with a 28-pitch live batting practice session on Saturday.
Mike Montgomery, who was expected to get a few starts this spring, will make his first Cactus League appearance on Wednesday when he follows Hendricks.
Rizzo hits Cubs' first spring HR
On a day in which he wore a cap honoring his high school, Anthony Rizzo belted a two-run opposite-field homer, and Willson Contreras followed with a solo shot in the fourth inning to lead the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Rangers on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 14,821 at Sloan Park.
The Cubs and Rangers both wore caps to honor the shooting victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and there was a moment of silence before the game.
Kristopher Bryant walked to open the Cubs' fourth, and Rizzo followed with his home run, the first by a Cubs player this spring. Contreras then homered to chase Connor Sadzeck, who had started the inning.
Cubs second baseman Javier Baez made the defensive play of the game in the first. Nomar Mazara lofted a ball over Rizzo and Baez snared it while sliding and recovered in time to throw Mazara out at first. Baez also grabbed a ball deflected by pitcher Cory Mazzoni behind the mound and threw out Jurickson Profar for the second out in the third.
Heyward tests swing adjustment
Saturday was Jason Heyward's first spring start, and Maddon says the early work the outfielder did with new hitting coach Chili Davis appears to be paying off.
"Every year, [Heyward] seems to make a little bit of an adjustment," Maddon said. "The one now, if we can take it into the game, it wil be interesting to watch. I don't want to get more specific. Me talking to him, I tell him I like what I see. If you start talking mechanics or specifics, then the person starts thinking about it and it goes away. Him and Chili did some nice work that's showing up already."
Heyward went 0-for-2, grounding out to second base and flying out to center.
Jen-Ho Tseng, the Cubs' Minor League pitcher of the year in 2017, will face the Giants and Madison Bumgarner in Scottsdale on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. CT (watch live on Cubs.com). Last season, Tseng, 23, was 7-3 with a 2.99 ERA in 15 starts with Double-A Tennessee and 6-1 with a 1.80 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A Iowa.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.