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Sveum looking forward to Wrigley improvements

ATLANTA -- The Cubs will finally wear their home whites Monday when they face the Brewers in the home opener. It also will be the last home opener before Wrigley Field goes through its makeover.

The Cubs have outlined a five-year, $300 million renovation plan expected to begin after this season.

"It'll turn into, obviously, one of the top venues in the league to play," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the ballpark, which turns 100 years old next year. "Us, getting a new clubhouse and the batting cages and a new dugout and, if the jumbotron [scoreboard] does come into play, now you're turning this place into an unbelievable place to go to work every day for all of us."

The Cubs will finally be able to "keep up with the Joneses," Sveum said. All of the National League Central teams have gotten new stadiums in the last 12 years.

The work was supposed to begin with the home clubhouse and batting cages.

"As far as the last conversation I had a few months ago, it was going to be ready for Opening Day next year," Sveum said. "To start digging that much, hopefully there's nothing in the way, because I think they probably have to work 24/7 to get it done by Opening Day [2014] once the last pitch is thrown this year."

Are there any aspects of Wrigley that he'll miss?

"The clubhouse? The batting cages? No, I don't think anybody can say they'll miss any of that," Sveum said.

Still to be determined is whether the Cubs can play more than 30 night games.

"You don't want to lose that aura about what we have at Wrigley, playing the day games," Sveum said. "When we get back off road games and things like that, it comes in handy to have a night game."

There's a 60 percent chance of rain on Monday in Chicago, which may dampen the season opener festivities.

"I heard the weather is starting to turn for the worse," reliever James Russell said. "I'm looking forward to [the home opener]. My little sister and mom are coming out. I think they've been to every Opening Day. They're keeping the streak going."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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