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Cubs easing rotation into Cactus action

Wood, Johnson, Cahill and Warren to start first four games; Arrieta likely Opening Day starter
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs fans won't see the projected rotation in the first four Cactus League games as the team eases Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and John Lackey into spring games.

Travis Wood will start the Cactus League opener Thursday against the Brewers, and Pierce Johnson will start Friday against the Angels in the Cubs' first home game at Sloan Park. Trevor Cahill will go Saturday against the Reds and Adam Warren get the start Sunday against the D-backs.

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs fans won't see the projected rotation in the first four Cactus League games as the team eases Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and John Lackey into spring games.

Travis Wood will start the Cactus League opener Thursday against the Brewers, and Pierce Johnson will start Friday against the Angels in the Cubs' first home game at Sloan Park. Trevor Cahill will go Saturday against the Reds and Adam Warren get the start Sunday against the D-backs.

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Kyle Hendricks will follow Wood against the Brewers. Both he and Jason Hammel have the edge over others competing for rotation spots such as Warren, Cahill and Clayton Richard.

"You just have to keep an open mind, is the best way I can describe it," manager Joe Maddon said Monday.

The Cubs are mindful of the workload many of the pitchers had last season, including Arrieta, who finished the season with 20 quality starts and 229 innings in the regular season.

"By the time they get to the opening bell, they'll be ready and they'll be well," Maddon said.

• Maddon has yet to name the Opening Day starter for April 4 against the Angels, but it most likely will be Arrieta, who is coming off a 22-win campaign and the National League Cy Young Award.

"You can surmise whatever you like -- don't assume -- but you can surmise or project or create conjecture, whatever you like to do," said Maddon, who wanted to meet with the starters first before announcing it.

Arrieta was the Orioles' Opening Day starter in April 2012.

• The second "Respect Bald" fundraiser will be held Saturday near Field 1 at Sloan Park before the game against the Reds. Players and coaches will get their heads shaved to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Fans can get a trim, too, for a $100 donation. The event will begin at 11 a.m. MT.

Eric Jokisch threw two innings in a simulated game Monday. The left-hander was limited to 17 games between Triple-A Iowa and the Cubs' Minor League team because of an oblique injury.

• The Cubs pro scouts are meeting in Mesa for three days before beginning their respective assignments.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta, Trevor Cahill, Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks, Pierce Johnson, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clayton Richard, Adam Warren, Travis Wood