Chicago Cubs Lineups: Happ and Zobrist Lead Off, Butler and Montgomery Start Split-Squad Games

As the semis load up the extra gear from Sloan Park, the Cubs will play a pair of split-squad games on their penultimate day in Arizona. The decisions on the final roster spot(s) have apparently all been made, so there’s not much to take from these final performances, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to speculate.

Ian Happ will be leading off and playing center against the Mariners in Surprise, followed by Tommy La Stella batting and playing second. No word on how many respondents the Cubs have gotten to that dating video, but I’m guessing the overwhelming response is the reason he’s not playing at Sloan. Don’t need some kind of Morgana situation.

Efren Navarro is at first base and Albert Almora Jr. cleans up in left as he continues to look like the team’s fourth outfielder. While he’ll probably spend most of his time in center, Almora makes a lot of sense as a platoon option in either corner with left-handed bats starting in both.

Chris Gimenez catches, Ryan Court plays third, Mark Zagunis is the DH, and Jacob Hannemann is in right to fill out the order. Eddie Butler will be on the mound to start the game, but the real question is whether or not he’ll be breaking camp with the team next week.

First pitch is at 8:40pm CT and can be heard on

In the (slightly) later game, Ben Zobrist leads off in right and plays ahead of what is almost a regular cast of characters. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, and Addison Russell form the heart of the order. Jason Heyward follows in center, Javy Baez is at second, and Victor Caratini is behind the plate.

Mike Montgomery will take the bump in this one, which starts at 9:05pm CT and can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago or MLB Network. Those of you without access to those channels or who simply prefer the radio can tune in to 670 The Score.

It’s a little interesting that Gimenez and Caratini are making the starts in these games and that the Cubs are staying mum on exactly who will play behind Willson Contreras. Oh, if you were wondering, WillCo caught Jon Lester in a minor league game Saturday afternoon. My money’s still on Gimmy, but we may need to wait a couple days to find out for sure.

Update: Ha, I was proven wrong in short order. Caratini has been announced as the backup catcher, while Gimenez will head to Iowa. Maddon did say that things could change if Caratini isn’t getting enough at-bats, so I fully expect we’ll see a change in the not-too-distant future.

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