Monday, February 21, 2011

Breaking News: Ryan Dempster to Start on Opening Day

Updated 3:20pm CT with Spring Training Rotation Info

Today, Mike Quade named Ryan Dempster his Opening Day starter. Demp will take the ball against the Pirates on April 1 at Wrigley Field. This choice is very popular among Cubs fans.

Carlos Zambrano got the nod for six straight years as the Cubs Opening Day guy. The last time he didn't start on Opening Day was when Kerry Wood took the ball for Dusty Baker in 2004. Matt Garza was also in the mix to start the opener.

Quade made the decision this early on because he want to be able to set up the Spring Training rotation accordingly. Zambrano will essentially be the Cubs No. 2, starting the second game of the season. Garza will pitch the final game of the series with the Pirates on April 3.

Update: The Cubs also announced today that Matt Garza and Carlos Zambrano will both pitch in the Spring Training opener against the A's on Sunday. The first pitch is at 2:05 with Cubs Central Pregame on WGN Radio starting at 1:30. It is almost here!

Mike cited Zambrano's hot finish as a reason why this decision was so tough. Dempster status in the clubhouse was not a factor in the decision.

Shifting gears, the MLB Network has released its full 83 game Spring Training broadcast schedule. The first game will be on Saturday at Noon CT as the Phillies take on the Yankees. They will air a tape delayed version of the Rockies/D'backs game on Saturday night at 10:00. Next Sunday, the Angels and Dodgers will battle on the network at 2:00.

The Cubs will play on MLBN on March 11 against the White Sox, March 21 against the Angels, March 22 against the Dodgers and March 25 against the Mariners. The channel will air its "30 Clubs in 30 Days" series for the third straight year. The Cubbies will be featured on March 11 at 6:00 (after the air the Cubs/Sox game).

More to come...

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