3/22 Cubs 11, Rangers 4
What went right:
The Cubs belted four homers, including Alfonso Soriano’s fifth, most in the Cactus League. Joe Mather, battling for a spot on the bench, had three hits, including a two-run homer in the second. Ian Stewart smacked his first spring homer leading off the sixth and also played solid defensively. Brett Jackson added a two-run shot in a four-run seventh. Matt Garza gave up three runs, none earned, on two hits and three walks over five innings. He threw 81 pitches, 48 for strikes.
What went wrong:
Darwin Barney, starting at shortstop, made two throwing errors in the fourth, which helped the Rangers rally to tie the game.
“The expectations are not real high but there is a lot of optimism there because we have a lot of good young players. We have good pitching, good defense and some guys are swinging it real well. If we can take that into the season and continue to play the way we have been the last week or so in Spring Training, you never know. The extra Wild Card — all it takes is just getting in, like in 2007 for the Rockies when we made that run. If we can stay in it by August, early September, we’ll be right there and it’ll be an exciting time and I look forward to it.” — Ian Stewart on the Cubs chances this year
Carlos Marmol, who had to leave his last start because of cramps in his right hand, threw on the side Thursday and had no problems. He was expected to get back into a game Monday. However, Marcos Mateo had to leave Thursday’s game after walking the first batter he faced in the sixth. The Cubs medical staff was looking at his right elbow but there was no official word. Reed Johnson is day to day after he was hit by a pitch on his left leg.
Andy Sonnanstine was assigned outright to the Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa roster on Thursday and taken off the 40-man roster.
Jeff Samardzija, a leading candidate for one of the two openings in the rotation, will make his third start and fourth spring appearance on Friday when the Cubs face the Rockies in Scottsdale. Samardzija has not walked a batter over 10 innings so far. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
– Carrie Muskat