The new balanced schedule for next season will bring some rarely seen faces to Wrigley Field.
MLB released its tentative 2023 schedule on Wednesday. In the new format, all 30 teams play each other. It will feature fewer games against divisional opponents — 13 games against each instead of 19 — and more interleague games — 46 instead of 20.
The Cubs and White Sox will play two-game series on both sides of town, at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 25 and 26 and at Wrigley on Aug. 15 and 16.
From the American League, the Cubs also will host the Rangers, Mariners, Rays, Orioles, Guardians, Red Sox and Royals. They’ll hit the road to play the Athletics, Twins, Astros, Angels, Yankees, Blue Jays and Tigers.
“I think it’s exciting,” manager David Ross said. “New cities, getting outside your division more. Playing the same teams over and over again is fine. But it’s just more exciting to play new teams and travel around, going to Minnesota, Houston consistently.”
Series against the Brewers bookend the Cubs’ 2023 season. They open at home against the Brewers on March 30 and close in Milwaukee on Oct. 1. Other highlights include the London Series against the Cardinals on June 24 and 25.
The Cubs made a series of roster moves involving their pitching staff in the aftermath of the doubleheader Tuesday.
They selected right-hander Luke Farrell to start Wednesday and optioned righty Anderson Espinoza, who threw three innings Tuesday in Game 2, to Triple-A Iowa.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cubs transferred Kyle Hendricks (strained right shoulder) from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day IL. Hendricks acknowledged this week that he won’t return this season.
The Cubs also put left-hander Steven Brault on the 15-day IL with a strained left shoulder and recalled reliever Kervin Castro from Iowa. They returned Nicholas Padilla, who served as the 27th man, to Iowa.
Farrell, making his season debut in the Cubs’ 7-1 victory, held the Cardinals to one run in 4„ innings.
“I love it here,” said Farrell, who appeared in 20 games for the Cubs in 2018. “I worked my tail off to get back here, and I wanted to make the most of the opportunity. It was a great night.”
Contreras out of lineup
Catcher Willson Contreras was out of the lineup for a second straight day Wednesday, and his status is day-to-day, Ross said.
“Better than yesterday, but there’s still some swelling in the ankle that just kind of has come up out of nowhere,” Ross said. “[The training staff is] working on him.”
Contreras originally rolled his left ankle during the ‘‘Field of Dreams’’ game two weeks ago, but he played through it. His ankle felt stiff when he woke up Tuesday morning. After treatment, he was available off the bench in Game 2, which the Cubs lost 13-3.
“I would have used him last night if it had been any kind of game,” Ross said.
Szczur gives back
Former Cub Matt Szczur, who has embraced his artistic talents in his post-MLB career, is using his NFT art to raise money to help patients in need of bone-marrow and stem-cell transplants. Szczur helped save a toddler’s life by donating stem cells in 2010.
Now he’s partnering with Be The Match, which registers potential donors, connects patients to their matches and helps support patients’ costs. On Friday, Szczur is set to release an NFT collection, with half the proceeds going to the Be The Match Foundation.