MESA, Ariz. — Cubs bullpen candidate Dan Winkler gave up a two-run homer to Jose Abreu in the fourth inning, and rookie Adbert Alzolay gave up a two-run shot to Adam Engel in the fifth as the Cubs lost 6-3 to the White Sox in the Cactus League crosstown matchup Friday at Sloan Park.
Lester gets work: Veteran starter Jon Lester, commanding a “pretty good” cutter and better than normal changeup, faced 12 batters in his third start of the spring, pitching two outs into the third before issuing a walk and running into his pitch limit. Six of his eight outs came on strikeouts.
“I would have liked to have had maybe a few more at-bats with some contact early regardless of if it was a hit or not,” said Lester, whose only run allowed came on Luis Robert’s double to the wall in right after an Eloy Jimenez walk.
Lester after his start Friday pic.twitter.com/AGXD5nmI7K— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) March 6, 2020
Rizzo finger update: First baseman Anthony Rizzo wasn’t in the lineup after being scratched Thursday because of a blister that split on his right middle finger. He will be evaluated daily but is making the trip to Las Vegas this weekend for a pair of split-squad games.
Spring cleaning: The Cubs made their first cuts of the spring, sending 11 players out, reducing the roster to 51.
Four were optioned: right-hander Tyson Miller and infielder Robel Garcia to Class AAA Iowa, and left-hander Justin Steele and right-hander Manny Rodriguez (sidelined with a biceps injury) to Class AA Tennessee.
Seven were reassigned to minor-league camp: right-handers Jason Adam, Oscar De La Cruz, Caleb Simpson and Brock Stewart, left-handers Tyler Olson and C.D. Pelham and catcher Jhonny Pereda.
Attendance “record”: The game drew 16,095 in attendance, touted by the Cubs as an official Cactus League record — despite the fact the team drew 16,100 last March at the same place for a non-Cactus League spring exhibition game against the Red Sox.
On deck: Split squad: Cubs at Indians, Goodyear, 2:05 p.m. Saturday, 670-AM, Kyle Hendricks vs. Adam Plutko; Cubs vs. Reds, Las Vegas, 3:05 p.m. Saturday, MSN, Alec Mills vs. Tejay Antone.