CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs built a roster of offensive versatility and they showed Saturday they are not afraid to use it.
Both bat left-handed and were asked to watch against Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Right-handed hitters Reed Johnson (right field) and Joe Mather (third base) will start in their place and bat first and second in the lineup respectively.
“Coming into this series I wanted to get everyone involved,” Sveum said. “With Gio on the mound, left-hander, big power curveball, you want your right-handed guys in there as much as possible and it’s just the perfect time for us to get those guys more at-bats and get involved in the game.”
It isn’t new territory for Johnson, who has started 396 career games as the leadoff hitter. Next highest is his 68 starts in the No. 2 spot. He has a career .285 batting average and .348 on-base percentage in the No. 1 spot, and when leading off games it is nearly identical at .282/.343.
Mather has started just 49 games in the major leagues, but his 17 starts in the No. 2 spot are his most. He has appeared at third base in a major league game just a handful of times but has never started at the position.
Mather was among the most productive Cubs hitters this spring. He batted .382 (26-for-68), leading the team in hits and tying Darwin Barney for second most RBIs at 15. Alfonso Soriano led the club with 18 RBIs.
The full Game 2 lineup for the Cubs vs. the Nationals:
Starlin Castro, SS
Jeff Baker, 1B
Geovany Soto, C
Marlon Byrd, CF
Matt Garza, P