• The Cubs' Double-A Tennessee Smokies issued a release Monday, saying the team was changing its name to the "Tennessee Browns" because team chairman Jimmy Haslam acquired the NFL franchise last year. The release even included new uniform designs and a note that the caps would not have a logo, just like the Cleveland Browns. The change was to take place April 1.
Well, happy April Fool's Day. There is no switch; it was a prank.
• Javier Baez, the team's No. 1 pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and ranked No. 1 among the Cubs' Top 20 Prospects, will open at Class A Daytona. Pierce Johnson, No. 7 on MLB.com's list of Cubs prospects, and Dan Vogelbach, No. 11, were both assigned to Class A Kane County.
• Jeff Samardzija gave up two hits over eight innings Monday on Opening Day. Of the 100 Cubs Opening Day games since 1914, the only Chicago pitcher to go at least eight innings and give up two or fewer hits in the season opener was Lon Warneke on April 17, 1934. Warneke threw a one-hit shutout that day in a 6-0 win over the Reds.
According to baseball historian Ed Hartig, there were four Opening Days when a Cubs starter threw at least eight scoreless innings: April 12, 1933 (Warneke); April 17, 1934 (Warneke); April 19, 1944 (Hank Wyse); and April 9, 1974 (Bill Bonham).
• Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa picked up a save in his first appearance with the Cubs, and is the first pitcher to do so with the team since Todd Wellemeyer on May 15, 2003.
• The Triple-A Iowa Cubs will have 18 players with Major League experience on their roster. Lefties Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley return to the rotation. Rusin led the Iowa team in wins (eight), starts (25), and strikeouts (94) last year, and will start the season opener Thursday against Albuquerque.
Right-handers Drew Carpenter, Barret Loux, and Nick Struck round out the starting rotation.
Brett Jackson was optioned to Iowa, and will join outfielders Ty Wright, Brian Bogusevic, Darnell McDonald, and Tim Torres. Also on the Iowa roster are infielders Logan Watkins, who was the Cubs' Minor League Player of the Year in 2012.