Watkins, Maysonet both scheduled to start

JACKSON-B-090212-SG-07(Photo by Stephen Green)

People are drawn to Spring Training for a variety of reasons. It gives fans a chance to see top players get back into action, young prospects face off against major league competition, and veteran fringe players try to win another opportunity at a major league roster spot.

Friday afternoon’s lineup will include all of these common spring scenarios. Many of the regulars, including David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano will be in the lineup as the club takes on Arizona at HoHoKam. But the scorecard will also include names like Brett Jackson, Logan Watkins and Edwin Maysonet.

Anyone who’s been following the Cubs over the last few years should be aware of Jackson. A former first round pick in 2009, the versatile outfielder has a lot of parts to his game that are major-league ready. But in seasons past, Jackson has had a difficult time making contact, striking out 59 times in 142 plate appearances after an August call-up in 2012. But Jackson entered camp with a more compact and simple swing that has paid dividends early this spring. Even though it’s well known he’ll start the year at Triple-A, an impressive first few months in Iowa could could earn the toolsy prospect a call-up to the North Side.

“I worked really hard this offseason,” Jackson said. “To make a muscle memory-type adjustment is a pain in the [butt]. To see results is good. I’m going to keep pounding on that to keep reinforcing that it is second nature.”

Watkins came into Mesa as the organization’s reigning minor league player of the year, after hitting .283/.383/.422 with 11 homers and 28 stolen bases at Double-A last season. The 20-year-old has the ability to play a range of positions—in fact, he’s played every defensive spot but catcher and first base over the last two seasons—but he’s probably best suited to second base, where he’s admitted he feels most comfortable. After the season, Watkins participated in the Arizona Fall League, stepping in for Javier Baez after the top prospect injured his thumb. Though Watkins competed in just nine games, he recorded seven hits and drew eight walks.

Maysonet was an October waiver pickup this past offseason. The 31-year-old has spent his 10-year career bouncing back and forth between the big leagues and the minors. Last season, he was mostly in Milwaukee’s system, where he hit .208 at Triple-A. But like Watkins, Maysonet has the ability to man an array of positions, including third base, where he’ll be playing Friday.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 CST, and the game will be webcast at cubs.com. The Diamondbacks will be sending Trevor Cahill to the hill. New D-Backs acquisition Tony Campana is not in the starting lineup. Here is the Cubs full batting order:

CF David DeJesus
SS Luis Valbuena
1B Anthony Rizzo
DH Alfonso Soriano
RF Nate Schierholtz
C Welington Castillo
LF Brett Jackson
2B Logan Watkins
3B Edwin Maysonet

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