Cubs set for opener without Barney

Cubs set for opener without Barney

Posted by Bruce on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 13:18

PITTSBURGH _ It’s a cool, drizzly Sunday at PNC Park, where the Pittsburgh Pirates are working out in preparation for Monday’s season opener against the Cubs. A few of the Cubs made it over from their team hotel to work out lightly, but there was no formal session today.

We’ll have a couple stories in Monday’s paper, and we can get with some of the nitty-gritty here today. I also tweet @BruceMiles2112, and I’ll blogging the entire series here.

First, expect the Cubs to place second baseman Darwin Barney on the 15-day disabled list. They have to set their rosters today, but no announcements will come until tomorrow. Barney took five stitches in his left knee Saturday as he crashed into a concrete slab trying to catch a foul popup at Houston’s Minute Maid Park in the final tune-up for the regular season. It could have been much worse. I was in St. Louis in May of 2001 when third baseman Bill Mueller crashed into the wall at Busch Stadium and broke his kneecap. The injury may have cost the Cubs the division title that year.

The upshot for tomorrow is that Brent Lillibridge likely is the starter at second base after the Cubs formally select his contract. Lillibridge went to spring training as a nonroster man and made the ballclub. If you’re thinking about the lineup, it probably will be this:

DeJesus, CF
Castro, SS
Rizzo, 1B
Soriano, LF
Schierholtz, RF
Castillo, C
Valbuena, 3B
Lillibridge, 2B
Samardzija, P

The Cubs go against veteran A.J. Burnett.

As far as other roster moves, the Cubs will select the contract of left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi. Steve Clevenger has made the team as a backup catcher/infielder. Brett Jackson will be optioned to Class AAA Iowa. Pitcher Scott Baker will be placed on the 60-day DL. Third baseman Ian Stewart and pitcher Matt Garza will be put on the 15-day DL.

Happy Easter and happy almost-Opening Day.

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