SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Cubs’ exhibition day against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium included a big-league/minor-league doubleheader put together by the teams, with a “Prospect Game” that followed the Cactus League game won by the Rangers 5-0.
TheCubs (coincidentally?) started a pair of ex-Rangers minor leaguers, acquired by the Cubs’ in trading deadline deals back-to-back seasons.
Kyle Kyle Hendricks, acquired for Ryan Dempster in 2012, pitched five strong innings in the big-league game (two runs allowed, in the fifth, and five strikeouts).
And Carl Edwards Jr., one of four players acquired the following year in the Matt Garza trade, retired all three batters he faced in the minor-league start, with one strikeout.
Middle infielder Munenori Kawasaki, who leads the Cubs with seven walks this spring (and has a .367 average), has impressed manager Joe Maddon, playing well enough to merit a big-league spot, but faces a roster numbers game.
“He’s as beautiful man,” Maddon said of the gregarious Kawasaki, who displays a keen sense of humor in two languages. “He’s a great fit. … But I think more than likely it would almost take an injury situation to dislodge [someone]. I don’t want to be disingenuous about it.
“I I also know that if he was part of this group, I’d be really happy about it, in a heartbeat. And everybody else would be, too.”
Kawasaki, started at second base, finished at short and went 1-for-3 with a walk.
Lefty slugger Kyle Schwarber singled twice in the big-league game, the notable part of that being the fact he hit the ball to right field into the Rangers’ defensive shift both times – including the hardest hit ball of the game in the ninth, a line drive that might have injured the shifted short-fielder if he’d actually reached it.
Cubs at Giants, Scottsdale, Ariz., 6:05 p.m., ESPN, mlb.com audio, Jake Arrieta vs. Madison Bumgarner.