Work on Wrigley Field renovations about to begin
The home season for the Cubs ends with Wednesday night's game against the Cardinals. Almost immediately after that, work will begin in earnest on the Wrigley Field renovations.
Crews have been doing prep work outside the ballpark recently. For next year, fans can expect to see a videoboard beyond left field, expanded bleachers and a Budweiser sign in right field.
Player amenities, including a new home clubhouse, relocated bullpens and expanded batting cages, are scheduled to be ready for Opening Day 2016. Preliminary work on the new underground clubhouse will begin this winter, with a hole to be dug just west of the ballpark.
All of this is the beginning of the multiyear renovation project the Cubs announced in January 2013 and tweaked since then. The Cubs are moving ahead with their plans under threat of legal action by neighboring rooftop owners, who say they will be hurt because their views of the playing field will be obstructed.
An official groundbreaking ceremony likely will take place in early October.
Cubs manage Rick Renteria announced his starting rotation for the season-ending weekend series at Milwaukee, and there are a couple of surprises.
Rookie left-hander Eric Jokisch will start Friday night against the Brewers, with lefty Tsuyoshi Wada going Saturday and Kyle Hendricks pitching Sunday.
Originally, Renteria said Edwin Jackson would start against the Brewers, but Jackson has been moved to the bullpen after another poor year as a starter.
"We spoke to him yesterday," Renteria said. "He was open to it. You all know him. He's a great kid. He understands, and he's willing to do whatever it takes."
The beneficiary of the shuffle is Wada, who was supposed to have made his final start of the year last Thursday against the Dodgers.
"The day after my last outing, I was told that if anything happens to a starter, an injury or other circumstances, I was told not to shut it down and to be mentally prepared if something happens," Wada said through a translator.
"I feel I've been given another opportunity, so I feel like I'm trying to finish strong to build my confidence with another good outing."
That's all for Castro:
Although the Cubs had left open the possibility of shortstop Starlin Castro playing again this season, Rick Renteria ended that talk Tuesday. Castro suffered a high-ankle sprain Sept. 2 when he slid awkwardly into home plate.
"It would be very difficult for him to be back before the end of the season, quite frankly," Renteria said. "He's still wearing his boot. He's not really doing any baseball activity.
"I think he's done a great job in trying to push himself with the idea that he was going to come back and participate before the season was over. It's a credit to him.
"But we all understand that the jolt he took to that ankle was pretty good. We commend him because he's done everything he can to try to put himself back on the map with us before the season is out. It would be very difficult for me to see him back on the field."