PITTSBURGH — The Cubs had to set their opening-day roster Sunday afternoon, but they won’t announce it as final until before Monday’s season opener in Pittsburgh.
Second baseman Darwin Barney is likely to go on the 15-day disabled list because of a nasty cut he received Saturday at Houston in the final exhibition game of the spring. The cut, which resulted from Barney crashing into the wall while chasing a foul popup, required five stitches.
Brent Lillibridge, who made the team out of spring training as a nonroster man, will start at second base on Opening Day. The Cubs also have brought nonroster man Alberto Gonzalez to Pittsburgh. If they don’t make a late deal, Gonzalez could be added to the roster.
“That’s a bummer,” starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija said of Barney’s injury. “Darwin is my boy back there. With him and Cassie (shortstop Starlin Castro), you really develop a relationship with those guys, guys to talk to and (bounce) stuff off of during the game. We can adjust to things.”
Making it on merit:
Brent Lillibridge opens his fifth straight season with a Chicago organization. He was with the White Sox from 2009 until being traded to Boston last June. The Red Sox then traded him to Cleveland July 24.
With Darwin Barney out, Lillibridge should see plenty of playing time. Although he wasn’t happy about Barney’s injury, he also felt he made the team on merit.
“I just tried to accomplish my individual things,” said Lillibridge, who hit .313 (15-for-48) during the spring. “I knew that if I showcased what I was capable of that it would have been a hard decision. It’s great to have a good spring, swing the bat really well, swing at good pitches, have good at-bats throughout the whole spring, from beginning to end. I hope I can transfer that to the season tomorrow.”
The Cubs added left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi to the roster after he made the team out of spring training as a nonroster man.
They also optioned center fielder Brett Jackson to Class AAA Iowa.
Right-hander Scott Baker (elbow) went on the 60-day disabled list while third baseman Ian Stewart (quad injury) and pitcher Matt Garza (lat-muscle injury) were placed on the 15-day DL.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.