MESA, Ariz. (AP) At least Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo and Chicago Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol have plenty of time to work out the kinks.Arroyo was hit hard and Marmol also struggled during Chicago's 8-6 exhibition victory over Cincinnati on Monday.Arroyo pitched two innings and was charged with four runs and six hits, including a monster home run by Alfonso Soriano. The crafty right-hander, who was 9-12 with a 5.07 ERA last season, struck out one and walked two."I faced 12 batters and they squared up six balls and the other balls they didn't square up were base hits and the umpire gave me a strike three that wasn't even a strike," said Arroyo, who is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in five spring innings. "That's not a good outing."Reds manager Dusty Baker didn't seem too concerned."Arroyo's velocity was better," Baker said. "He didn't have location today. He'll get better. When (Arroyo) had problems last year it was walks and home runs. That's what got us today."But there was some good to come out of it."It was a struggle out there, even physically I didn't feel real lively," Arroyo said. "It is nice sometimes to get runners on base in situations where you have to press in a real game. Where you have to dig deep and have to throw a fastball on the outer half to a lefty when you feel like you don't have great command."That feeling is something that needs to be worked through."Marmol was touched up for the second outing in a row and knocked over a garbage can in the clubhouse after he left the mound. He gave up three runs and two hits in one inning.The right-hander, who blew 10 save opportunities last season and finished with a 4.01 ERA, also was hit hard against Seattle on Thursday, when he yielded four earned runs and four hits while recording just two outs.Cubs starter Paul Maholm, who had the flu early in camp, made his spring debut and allowed one run and two hits in two innings. The left-hander, who signed with Chicago over the winter, struck out one and walked none."It was good," Maholm said. "I was happy to get out there. You don't feel part of (spring training) until you get out there. I wish I would have gotten ahead of a few more guys. There were no walks and I was aggressive."I was good to go and I pitch when they tell me to. If they want me to take it a little slower that is fine. I got my bullpens in so as far as pitches and innings I am where I need to be."Todd Frazier homered in the second inning for the Reds. Zack Cozart and Donald Lutz had two RBIs apiece.The Cubs got another big day from Joe Mather, who is battling Tony Campana for the fifth outfield spot. Mather hit a three-run home run in the seventh to give Chicago a 7-6 lead and is batting .545 (6 for 11) this spring.Soriano belted his fourth spring homer, and reserve catcher Blake Lalli also went deep for the Cubs.
LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.
With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.
Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.
“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”
Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.
Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.
“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.
“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”
The Cubs take on the Los Angeles Dodgers today, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.
Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Ryan Dempster. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.
Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (3-2, 3.19 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.01 ERA)
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