Chicago Cubs Lineup (2/28/23): Madrigal Batting Leadoff at 3B, Mervis at 1B, Smyly Starting

The Cubs dropped a pair of split-squad games yesterday in which their run-scoring couldn’t keep pace, but these early contests feature tons of minor leaguers who even the broadcasters and Gameday app can’t identify. Some folks had quite a shock when Alexander Canario showed up to take an at-bat in the game against the Diamondbacks, but it was actually Jordan Nwogu. The two have the same jersey numbers, hence the confusion.

There was a glimmer of hope for a moment Tuesday when Canario posted on IG that he’s back on the field, but he has since amended that claim.

As for players who are on the field, Nick Madrigal is getting another start at third base and batting leadoff. He acquitted himself well in his first start, now I really need to see him make some plays from deeper on the field and/or while moving hard toward the line. As to the Cubs’ endgame here, I’m not sure whether it’s a matter of showcasing his versatility for a trade or because they want to carve out more playing time for him. If it’s the latter, assigning him to Iowa makes more sense than keeping him in Chicago as a bench bat.

Tucker Barnhart bats second so he can get to the golf course a little earlier, then it’s Patrick Wisdom at DH and Matt Mervis at first base. Wisdom was scratched from yesterday’s game with groin tightness, so it’s good to see him back right away. Christopher Morel is at second base, Mike Tauchman gets the start in right in what could be a preview of life without Seiya Suzuki, and Miles Mastrobuoni is the shortstop. Cubs fans will get their first look at highly-ranked prospect Kevin Alcántara in left, then Ben DeLuzio bats ninth in center.

Update: Wisdom has been scratched again, so James Triantos will DH and bat ninth as everyone else moves up.

Drew Smyly will be on the mound for his first spring action and he figures to go two innings or around 40 pitches before giving way to a cast of relievers. The following pitchers are scheduled to appear after Smyly: Ben Brown, Danis Correa, Ben Leeper, Mark Leiter Jr., and Eric Stout. I’m really excited to see the first three of that group and I feel strongly that Correa could be a real weapon in the late innings.

First pitch from American Family Fields is set for 2:10pm CT on Marquee Sports Network

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