Chicago Cubs Lineup (3/1/21): Anthony Rizzo Leads Off First Spring Game, Kyle Hendricks Pitching

The greatest leadoff hitter of all time resumes his role in the Cubs’ Cactus League opener as Anthony Rizzo tops the lineup at first base. Willson Contreras catches and bats second, Joc Pederson bats third in left, and Javy Báez cleans up at short. Cameron Maybin is in right, David Bote handles the hot corner, Ildemaro Vargas is at second, Ian Miller is in center, and P.J. Higgins is the DH.

Kyle Hendricks will take the mound for the Cubs, but he won’t be tossing a complete game shutout even if he’s dealing. In addition to keeping starters on very strict pitch counts in the early going, the game will be limited to seven innings in accordance with the joint protocols established prior to the start of spring training. With the exception of nationally broadcast games, all Cactus League affairs will be abbreviated.

That’s really not much of a change from the past, when the regulars would all be pulled after two plate appearances and the later innings were contested by players with nameless jerseys bearing lineman and receiver numbers. Like the time a few years ago when Bote homered and we had to look up at the scoreboard to figure out who it was.

All that really matters at this point is that Cubs baseball is back, even if you can’t watch or listen to the 2:10pm CT start. Those fans who still have access to Marquee Sports Network will be getting a replay of Florida State vs. Wake Forest in women’s basketball. If you tune in earlier, you can watch three episodes of Chris and Tell featuring Ron Rivera, Jim McMahon, and Doc Rivers. The radio call won’t be on 670 The Score for this one, either, so I guess we’re all going to have to follow online.

Tuesday’s Sloan Park opener will be on Marquee as Adbert Alzolay faces the Royals. That should be fun and might even call for a little day-drinking.

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