Chicago Cubs on West Coast to open 2016 season
ST. LOUIS -- There are a couple of interesting aspects to the Cubs' 2016 schedule.
The first is that they'll open in California for the first time since 1984 and with an interleague series.
On Tuesday, April 5, the Cubs will open a two-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. It will be the first time they've opened a regular season against an American League club, and it marks the first time they'll begin in California since 1984, when they opened at San Francisco.
From there, the Cubs move on to Arizona for four games, April 7-10, before coming home for the Wrigley Field opener on Monday night, April 11 against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cubs will play the White Sox on July 25-26 at U.S. Cellular Field and July 27-28 at Wrigley Field.
In addition to the White Sox games, the Cubs' interleague schedule includes hosting three AL West opponents: Texas (July 15-17), Seattle (July 29-31) and the Angels (Aug. 9-10). The Cubs play at Oakland (Aug. 5-7) and at Houston (Sept. 9-11).
The other interesting aspect could be the elimination or cutting back on 3:05 p.m. starts for Friday and Saturday home games.
Manager Joe Maddon and most of the baseball people do not like the 3:05 starts, but they could be kept around for some Friday games if the Cubs play a Thursday night on the road before coming home.
Discussions are under way between baseball operations and business operations, which seems to like the 3:05 games.
"We have talked," Maddon said. "I guess we are still 'to be determined,' but we have talked. There still can be (3:05 games), I understand, but I think some may be changed. I'm not sure to what extent.
"From our perspective the thing I talked to them about straight up was consistent start times, that's all, so that the players could get into a regular routine."
General manager Jed Hoyer said he understands there are baseball and business considerations.
"I think the inconsistent game times are something that players and managers and coaches complain about, and rightfully so," Hoyer said. "Everyone wants to be on a normal schedule and know what to expect. That sentiment certainly has been given to the appropriate people, and we'll see if we can get some of those changed."
Schwarber, short term and long:
Joe Maddon said rookie catcher-outfielder Kyle Schwarber may be able to start in Wednesday's series finale. Schwarber has been recovering since last week from rib-cage soreness.
Jed Hoyer said the Cubs will continue to allow Schwarber to keep pursuing his wish to catch.
"The fact that he wants to catch is a really big deal," Hoyer said. "A lot of guys catch through college, catch through the minor leagues and don't love it. I think that's a limiting factor to being really good at it.
"That's a position where you have to sit there in the film room and study like crazy, and you have to be willing to take the pounding necessary, and he wants to do it.
"We believe in him. Obviously he's not at the level of guys like (Miguel) Montero and (David) Ross at this point. Those guys have done it in the big leagues a long time. But we think he can certainly get there.
"The fact that we put him out in left field when Miggy got back (from injury) says nothing about how we feel about him as a catcher. It was more to get more offense in the lineup."
The Cubs activated reliever Neil Ramirez off the disabled list and recalled reliever Yoervis Medina from Class AAA Iowa. Ramirez had been on the DL since July 29 with abdominal soreness. Earlier this year, he was on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
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