Jackson to make Cubs debut, Villanueva at third
The Cubs made a plethora of moves this offseason to improve a struggling rotation. The biggest of those moves—Edwin Jackson—is scheduled to put his arm on display Tuesday as the North Siders host Colorado in Mesa, Ariz.
Even though Spring Training games are just kicking off, Jackson’s path the Cubs has been well documented. Despite entering the majors on his 20th birthday, making an All-Star team, throwing a no-hitter and winning a World Series, he was traded six times from 2006-11. Last season in Washington, he went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA and completed his sixth straight year starting 30 games.
Defensively, Cubs regulars Anthony Rizzo (first base), Starlin Castro (shortstop) and David DeJesus (center field) will all be in action. Projected backup Dioner Navarro will catch and Brett Jackson will be playing left field, spelling Alfonso Soriano, who will DH. The bottom third of the order is comprised of a trio of interesting hopefuls.
Brent Lillibridge, whose versatility has already been applauded this spring, will start at second. Though he struggled offensively for three teams (White Sox, Red Sox, Indians) last year, he saw time at every position but catcher in 2012.
Christian Villanueva was the key piece in the Ryan Dempster deal during the trade deadline. In High-A ball last season, the third baseman hit .279/.353/.427 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 14 homers and 68 driven in. But the 2012 Top 100 prospect according to Baseball America is better known for his slick glove. Villanueva gets the nod at third base Tuesday.
Johermyn Chavez put up monster stats in High-A in 2010 for Seattle. Hitting .315 with 32 homers and 30 doubles, things looked promising. But his stats haven’t resembled that season since. Last year he hit .232 in 288 at-bats, with eight home runs in Double-A. But he is just 24 years old. The Cubs took a chance and signed him in November, with the hopes of regaining those numbers. He’ll be starting in right field.
First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 CST. Cubs fans can listen exclusively on Cubs.com. The Rockies will be sending out righty Jhoulys Chacin. Here is the full batting order:
CF David DeJesus
SS Starlin Castro
1B Anthony Rizzo
DH Alfonso Soriano
LF Brett Jackson
C Dioner Navarro
2B Brent Lillibridge
3B Christian Villanueva
RF Johermyn Chavez