Friday, April 17, 2015

Bryant's arrival raises stakes in Cubs-Padres opener

Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant, who hit .425 with a Major League-leading nine home runs in Spring Training, is set to make his big league debut in Friday's series opener with the Padres at Wrigley Field.
Bryant belted a Minor League-leading 43 homers last year while moving up the ladder from Double-A to Triple-A, continuing an expected rise to prominence for the 6-foot-5 third baseman who was picked No. 2 overall in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. He will bat cleanup against San Diego.
For the Padres, new ace James Shields will reach another personal milestone. The right-hander, signed as a free agent after years in the American League, will pitch at the legendary Chicago ballpark for the first time after debuting at Dodger Stadium in his last start.
Not only will Shields see his former manager with the Rays, Joe Maddon, who is in his first year at the helm of the Cubs, but he'll oppose former Tampa Bay teammate Jason Hammel. 
Things to know about this game
• Matt Kemp has always enjoyed visiting Wrigley Field, if for no other reason than he's managed to make the Friendly Confines look small. He's a career .323 hitter at Wrigley, with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 104 plate appearances.
• The Padres took two of three games from the Cubs at Wrigley Field a year ago. After being shut out in the opener on July 22, they scored a combined 21 runs over the next two games, as Will Venable had three hits and knocked in two runs in the series finale, a 13-3 victory.

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