172.2: Right-hander Jeff Samardzija tossed 1722/3 innings in 2012 during his first season as a starting pitcher. With no restrictions or plans to shut him down early, Samardzija expects to hit the 200-inning mark in 2013. The Cubs could use an innings eater especially if Matt Garza misses extended time with strained latissimus muscle. Samardzija has an opportunity to become one of the best starting pitchers in the game.
10: Ten of the Cubs’ first 16 games will be played at Wrigley Field. But that only masks a tough schedule to start the season. Ten of those games are also against teams that made the playoffs last year, which most notably includes a four-game set against the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
3: The Cubs will be carrying three catchers on their roster to start the season – Welington Castillo, Dioner Navarro and Steve Clevenger – which is rarity among MLB teams. Clevenger is also able to play first and third base, which provides plenty of flexibility in the lineup, especially since he’s a left-handed hitter.
37: Reliever Shawn Camp is the oldest player on the Cubs’ roster. However, despite his age, Camp is coming off one of his best seasons after appearing in a league-leading 80 games with a 3.59 ERA. The right hander will be relied on again in late-inning situations this year, particularly if the Cubs struggle to close out games.
4: Before a regular season game has been played, the Cubs already have potentially four big league players on the disabled list. Garza, pitcher Scott Baker (strained right elbow) and third baseman Ian Stewart (left quad strain) have already been placed on the DL, with second baseman Darwin Barney (stitches on left knee) possibly joining them. The Cubs’ depth will be on display early this season, and they can only hope to avoid any more injuries early in the season.
– Meghan Montemurro