Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for today's series finale in Chicago:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Mac Williamson (R) LF
8. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P (1-5, 4.57 ERA)
1. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
2. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) CF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Miguel Montero (L) C
8. Javier Baez (R) SS
9. Eddie Butler (R) P (1-0, 2.00 ERA)
Before I start this post ...
I know ... "spring training stats don't matter." But Brandon Belt is hitting the you-know-what out of the ball right now in the Cactus League and going 9-for-9 isn't something that should be ignored -- even during games that don't count.
Now that we got that out of the way ...
Baseball Reference is one of the few sites that has spring training stats, so shout out to them. And this is what Belt is working with as we head into Opening Day.
A .485/.553/.818 line with three home runs and six RBI in 13 games.
Not bad ... not bad at all.
And he seems to be having fun despite a small mishap cutting half of his eyebrow off prior to Photo Day, but who hasn't done that?
SAN FRANCISCO -- A few hours after an emotional goodbye at Oracle Park last season, Hunter Pence started working on his swing.
It paid off.
Pence will make the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day roster, according to TR Sullivan of MLB.com. He was in camp with his childhood team as a non-roster invitee and had a huge spring.
Pence, 35, is batting .356 in Cactus League play with three homers and five doubles, with an OPS over 1.000. He has six stolen bases in as many attempts.
Pence looked just about done last year while batting just .226 with four homers for the Giants. But he vowed to remake his swing in the offseason by working with renowned instructor Doug Latta in Los Angeles, and he took the unusual step of playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic as an established veteran.
That all led to a tryout with the Rangers, who valued what Pence could bring to their young spring clubhouse. He ended up adding right-handed pop, too, and he beat out several, including young prospect Willie Calhoun.
[RELATED: Pence's inspiring winter ball speech]
On Thursday morning, a few hours before the news became public, Pence tweeted out a short message: “It’s Thursday and I’m thankful.”