Cubs' Opening Day lineup is revealed

MESA, Ariz. -- With five games to go on the Cactus League schedule the Chicago Cubs finally revealed their Opening Day lineup.

In Friday’s home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dale Sveum grouped all of his regulars as he plans to do next Thursday against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field.

The lineup is as follows:

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Bryan LaHair, 1B

5. Alfonso Soriano, LF

6. Ian Stewart, 3B

7. Marlon Byrd, CF

8. Geovany Soto, C

9. Ryan Dempster, P

Sveum had called the lineup one of the hardest jobs of the spring because he had no prototypical players for a number of spots, especially in the No. 2 and No. 3 holes.

Barney got the second spot after posting a .450 batting average this spring.

“[Barney] definitely earned that,” Sveum said. “He’s swung the bat better than anybody in camp. He’s driven the ball. He’s done everything.”

There are questions as to whether Barney has the intangibles to handle the No. 2 spot, but showed his ability to hit to all fields this spring, something that helped his case.

There are other question marks, though, for somebody so high in the order. He walked just 22 times last year in 143 games, leaving him with a .313 on-base percentage. But on-base percentage will be a challenge for the Cubs up and down the lineup.

“On this team we don’t have a whole lot of on-base percentage guys to evaluate that way,” Sveum said. “You evaluate more on productivity. Hopefully the on-base percentage happens without maneuvering the lineup because of it because we don’t have any proven guys besides DeJesus that has any longevity to say he’s had a decent on-base percentage.”

So in that sense, Barney’s potential for productivity won him the second spot.

“From looking on the other side of the fence last year, to me he’s a different person that what I saw playing against him,” Sveum said of Barney. “His strength, the way he’s pulling the ball, the way he’s letting the bat go, you don’t see that same guy flaying stuff to right field. He’s driving the ball consistently. He’s hitting velocity. He’s doing a really good job.”