Those who showed up to Wrigley Field early enough were treated to extra baseball before the Cubs’ exhibition game against the Twins on Wednesday.
Alec Mills threw a simulated game Wednesday afternoon, facing live batters once more before his fist regular season start. Mills has claimed the fifth spot in the Cubs rotation, manager David Ross confirmed Wednesday. But the news had been expected since the beginnign of summer camp. Mills is scheduled to face the Reds on July 28, the second game of a four-game series.
“Couldn’t be happier with Alec,” Ross said. “He’s done a great job for us. I like the way he competes.”
Mills was originally scheduled to piggyback Wednesday’s start with Jon Lester.
“But we’ve just got too many relievers that need to see live competition,” Ross said, “and continue to fill out and make our minds up on a few guys.”
In the spring, Mills was in competition with Tyler Chatwood for the final spot in the Cubs rotation. Chatwood won the battle. But that was before José Quintana sliced his left thumb on a broken wine glass while washing dishes.
The four months between the cancellation of Spring Training and the opening of summer camp rejiggered the Cubs rotation.
Now, Kyle Hendricks is the Opening Day starter, Chatwood has moved past Lester into the No. 3 slot, Mills is a member of the rotation and Quintana is about a week into his flat-ground throwing program.
Here are the Cubs’ probable starters to begin the season:
Friday, July 24 vs. Brewers: Kyle Hendricks
Saturday, July 25 vs. Brewers: Yu Darvish
Sunday, July 26 vs. Brewers: Tyler Chatwood
Monday, July 27 vs. Reds: Jon Lester
Tuesday, July 28 vs. Reds: Alec Mills