Chicago Cubs Lineup (3/5/23): Madirgal at 3B, Mervis at 1B, Smyly Starting

Birthday boy Nick Madrigal is the Cubs’ leadoff hitter and third baseman, a sight we’ve already seen far more than anyone expected when it was first reported that he was going to get reps at the hot corner. We’re well past the point of novelty and it seems the team is intent on proceeding with this as a legit possibility. As for the leadoff spot, however, Madrigal is only there when Nico Hoerner isn’t in the lineup.

Dansby Swanson has been the No. 2 hitter each time he plays and that remains true this afternoon. Ian Happ bats third in left, Trey Mancini is in right, Cody Bellinger is in center, and Yan Gomes is the catcher. David Bote is at second, Matt Mervis is at first, and Nelson Velázquez is the DH.

Hey, does anyone else think the Cubs could be sort of showcasing Madrigal and Bote as they play a Rockies team that recently lost second baseman Brendan Rodgers for at least a majority of the season? Colorado just signed Mike Moustakas to a minor league deal and might see serious value in adding a hitter like Madrigal, who could probably bat .350 at Coors. Bote is a native of Longmont, which is just north of Denver, and his power would play well back home.

Drew Smyly will be on the mound to make his second start of the spring after giving up a lot of loud contact his first time out. He may have simply been working on something specific and not worrying about missing bats, so let’s see how he does this time. Scheduled to follow Smyly are Michael Fulmer, Brandon Hughes (good to see him get out there), Ryan Jensen, Luke Little, Manny Rodríguez, and Michael Rucker.

Kris Bryant is batting second as the DH for the home team in this one and I’m hoping he hits a dinger because he deserves to have a healthy bounce-back season. First pitch from Salt River Fields is at 2:10pm CT on Marquee Sports Network.

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