The Cubs open regular season play Monday against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark beginning at 1:10 p.m. CDT. The game can be seen on WGN.
Carlos Zambrano will get his second straight Opening Day start and will be opposed by Reds right-hander Aaron Harang, who was 4-0 this spring with a 2.84 ERA in five starts. Zambrano was 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA in four spring starts, plus additional action in the inaugural World Baseball Classic for team Venezuela.
The Cubs wrapped up a two-day exhibition series with San Diego in Las Vegas Saturday and finished Cactus League play on Thursday with a record of 15-13, the second best mark of any Central Division team this spring. Only the Reds were better at 21-11. Among Cactus League standings, the Cubs' were sixth in the 12-team circuit.
A total of 57 hitters combined to bat .290 (eighth overall in the Cactus League) with 29 home runs. The Cubs outscored their opponents 170-161 this spring.
On the mound, 28 Cubs pitchers allowed 154 earned runs for a combined ERA of 5.31, third best in the Cactus League in 261 innings. They yielded 29 home runs and allowed 9.97 hits per nine innings.
The Cubs were 6-6 at HoHoKam Park this spring, 9-7 away from there, and finished 5-1 in one-run contests.
3B Aramis Ramirez’s 13-game hitting streak to close out the Cactus League schedule propelled him to the best batting average among National League hitters with a .509 clip (28-for-55) in 20 games this spring. LF Matt Murton’s .385 batting average was 10th among National League hitters.
After Friday night’s three-way trade to acquire INF/OF Freddie Bynum, the Cubs optioned INF Ryan Theriot to Triple-A and placed RHP Wade Miller on the disabled list to officially set the 25-man roster for Opening Day. As part of the trade, the Cubs parted ways with left-hander John Koronka, who went to Texas after battling for a bullpen spot with the Cubs.
Bynum, the Oakland A’s second-round draft pick in 2000 and out of options with the club, was immediately added to the Cubs’ roster as he and OF Angel Pagan earned the final roster spots off the bench.
Ending the controversy at second base, Todd Walker will open the year as the Cubs’ starter after weeks of battling with Jerry Hairston and Neifi Perez for the position, manager Dusty Baker announced Saturday.
"The main guy will get the majority of the playing time," Baker said. "Is that 60 percent? Seventy percent? Is it 51 percent? Quite frankly, it's a fortunate situation to have three quality guys.
Walker hit .260 in 22 games this spring, while Perez batted .293 and Hairston hit .308 in an equal number of games.
Three Cubs starters will open the year on the disabled list: RHPs Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Miller.
(Information from the Cubs' media relations office was used in this report.)
E-mail Steve Holley: firstname.lastname@example.org.