Begin with the End in Mind: Montgomery to Start First Spring Game

It may just be a matter of coincidence, but I wouldn’t put it past Joe Maddon to have intentionally chosen the man on the mound for the last out of the World Series to start the Cubs’ Spring opener. As Jesse Rodgers reported, Mike Montgomery will throw the first pitch when the Cubs begin Cactus League on Saturday. The only thing more fitting would be if the Indians were opposing him (which will be the case Sunday).

The Cubs are actually playing split-squad games Saturday, with Rob Zastryzny starting the other game. Which, wait, aren’t they the same guy? I’m confused.

Don’t go taking reading too much into these starts, though, as it’s not at all indicative of Montgomery’s standing in the rotation. It was announced earlier this week that the four established starters — Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey — would not pitch until the second week of games, which means running a series of potential starters and swingmen out there first.

Expect to see new fan favorite Brett Anderson making an early start as well, what with his reduced workload over the past year. That’s really what the initial setup is all about, even more than getting a look at potential fifth starters. There’ll be plenty of time to suss out the rotation as the exhibition season wears on, so this is more about giving a little extra rest to the guys who’ve put a few more miles on the tires over the last couple seasons.

And this should go without saying, but don’t be alarmed when none of the starters log more than a couple innings in these first few games. Not only do they need to ease back into game action, but there are scores of arms the Cubs want to get a look at before they start paring down the roster in earnest.

So the main takeaway in all of this is just that BASEBALL IS ABOUT TO START UP AGAIN. Check out the full broadcast schedule to know how and when you’ll be able to the follow the Cubs during their time in Arizona.

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