3/19 Cubs vs Diamondbacks

Edwin Jackson gets the start Thursday night against the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale at Talking Stick. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Coghlan LF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soler RF

Olt 3B

Baez 2B

Castillo C

E. Jackson P

3/19 Roster move

The Cubs optioned right-handed pitcher C.J. Edwards to Triple-A Iowa, and the spring camp roster is now at 52. Edwards gave up two hits over two scoreless innings on Wednesday against the Dodgers. He is projected to start for Iowa.

3/19 Cubs lineup B Game

Kyle Hendricks will start in a B game Thursday at Sloan Park in Mesa, starting at 1 p.m. Arizona time. The game is not on the schedule, but is open to the public and there will be some concessions available.

La Stella 2B
Denorfia LF
Bryant DH
Montero C
Russell SS
Alcantara 3B
Almora CF
Valaikda 1B
McKinney RF

The Cubs will face the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale at 6:40 p.m. Arizona time.

3/18 Final: Cubs 7, Dodgers 5

Chris Coghlan hit a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly and Albert Almora had two hits, both doubles, and drove in two runs to lift the Cubs to a 7-5 victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday in Glendale. Jake Arrieta gave up five runs on seven hits over four innings, striking out five. Said Arrieta: “I just need to be a little more precise with things earlier in counts so I’m not in hitter friendly counts in big situations, and moving forward, that’s something I’ll put emphasis on.”

C.J. Edwards gave up two hits over two scoreless innings, and Hector Rondon survived a comebacker by Darwin Barney that the Cubs pitcher knocked down, and was able to recover in time to throw out his former teammate.

Almora was not scheduled to start, but subbed for Matt Szczur who was a little bruised after crashing into the left field
wall on Tuesday. Szczur is day to day.

Up next: The Cubs will play two on Thursday, beginning with a “B” game at Sloan Park in Mesa against the Angels at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Kyle Hendricks will start that game and Kris Bryant is scheduled to DH. The regular game will start at 6:40 p.m. Arizona time as the Cubs travel to Scottsdale to face the Diamondbacks.

– Carrie Muskat

3/18 A gentleman’s bet

Matt Szczur and Joe Maddon have established the prize for their friendly wager over the first round NCAA men’s basketball game between their respective schools, Villanova and Lafayette. Villanova, the top seed in the East Regional, is a 22-point favorite over 16th-seed Lafayette, and they play Thursday.

Whoever loses has to wear a hoodie sweatshirt of the winning team. But there’s more. Szczur suggested if Villanova not only won but beat the point spread, Maddon would owe the outfielder a bottle of wine.

“He’s pretty confident I’m going to be wearing a Villanova hoodie,” Maddon said. “I think he’s also confident that he’s going to have to give me a bottle of wine. It was all him. I love the intellect behind the bet. He thought of it himself. I said, ‘I’m in.'”

On Tuesday, Szczur crashed into the left field fence chasing after a ball, and ended up with a little cut above his eye. Maddon wasn’t surprised.

“The way the guy looks, the way the guy plays, that football background, it all makes sense,” Maddon said of Szczur who played wide receiver, running back, wildcat quarterback and on special teams for the ‘Nova football team. “He’s a joy to be around. We’ve got a lot of guys who teams like to have because they’re good players and people who go about their business. He’s totally himself.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/18 Kris Bryant update

Kris Bryant will not play third base in the Thursday game against the Diamondbacks. Manager Joe Maddon said they want Bryant to DH in the “B” game to give him and his tender right shoulder more time.

– Carrie Muskat

3/18 Extra bases

* Kris Bryant was listed at third base for the Cubs’ night game Thursday against the Diamondbacks, which
would be his first action there in one week. The Cubs top prospect has been limited to designated hitter duties because of
fatigue in his right shoulder. Bryant said Wednesday he woke up feeling better and wanted to long toss. The plan is to take a precautionary approach, he said.

* Daniel Bard, who missed all of last season because of Thoracic outlet syndrome, is scheduled to pitch for the Cubs
in a “B” game on Thursday at Sloan Park. Bard, who had the surgery in January 2014, appeared in four Minor League games last season with the Rangers, then took the rest of the summer off. In 2010, he posted a 1.93 ERA in 73 games with the Red Sox.

* Dallas Beeler continues to rehab his right shoulder. He has not appeared in a Cactus League game because of
tightness in his shoulder.

– Carrie Muskat

3/18 Looking ahead …

The Cubs will play two games on Thursday — a “B” game at Sloan Park in Mesa against the Angels and a regularly scheduled game at 6:40 p.m. Arizona time in Scottsdale against the Diamondbacks. Here are the lineups (as always, subject to change):

“B” game:

La Stella 2B

Denorfia LF

Alcantara 3B

Montero C

Russell SS

Schwarber DH

Almora CF

Valaika 1B

McKinney RF

Vs. D-Backs

Fowler CF

Coghlan LF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soler RF

Bryant 3B

Baez 2B

Castillo C

E. Jackson P

3/18 Cubs lineup

Jake Arrieta gets the start Wednesday in Glendale against the Dodgers. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF

Alcantara 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soler RF

Szczur CF

La Stella 2B

Ross C

Russell SS

Arrieta P

3/18 Bryant: I like having a bulldog work for me

Agent Scott Boras has made it clear he thinks Kris Bryant should be on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, and the team’s top prospect says he appreciates having a “bulldog” speak up for him.

“It’s nice to have a bulldog working for you rather than a poodle,” Bryant said Wednesday about Boras. “He definitely speaks up for his players. He wants the best for them.”

The issue is service time, which is something the Astros went through last year with George Springer and the Rays dealt with in 2008 with Evan Longoria. If the Cubs postpone Bryant’s Major League arrival for at least 12 days, it will enable them to gain an additional year of control before he becomes a free agent. Those rules were established in baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.

Bryant, who has tried to limit the talk to avoid any distractions this spring, pointed out that Boras didn’t contact the media; they reached out to him. The third baseman, who led the Minor Leagues with 43 home runs last season, was tied for the Major League lead this spring with six homers. He has not played third base since last Thursday because of fatigue in his right shoulder. Bryant was scheduled to start at third on Thursday against the Diamondbacks.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the big leagues and I’d like to get there as soon as possible,” Bryant said. “The spring I’m having so far has put me in a pretty good position. We’re told we can go out there and win a spot and I took that to heart at the beginning of spring. I came out here with a chip on my shoulder to play as hard as I can and I’ll continue to do that until the end of this thing.”

Bryant, the second player taken overall in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, said he has no gripes with the Cubs. He’s hearing from his teammates that they want him on the big league roster and that he’s doing well.

Does Bryant worry that Boras’ approach will affect his relationship with the Cubs?
“Not at all,” Bryant said. “I’m a professional on the field and when I put on the uniform, I’m ready to go. It’s an honor to wear this uniform every day. I can’t help but smile every time I put it on. I’m not a child out there, I realize there’s a business side to this thing. When I put the uniform on, I’m a professional and I want to help the Cubs win as many games as possible. There’s nothing I want to do more than bring a World Series to chicago.”

Bryant has shown he can hit, but the question has been whether he’s ready to play third base in the big leagues. He feels he’s progressed well at that position.

“I’ve been doing everything they’ve asked me to, getting better every day,” he said. “I’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback. I’ve said what I need to work on, and first step things are what I want to do out there. I think I’ve been coming along really nice.”

All this talk has not been a distraction on the field, Bryant said.

“Baseball’s a fun game for me, and I go out there and play hard every day with a smile on my face,” he said. “This stuff doesn’t distract me when I’m on the field.”

– Carrie Muskat

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