Cubs finalize roster for Friday opener

by WSBT 22 Sports

The Chicago Cubs finalized their 30-man roster just over 24 hours before the first pitch of the 2020 season on Thursday night. The roster features six players who spent time with the Class-A affiliate South Bend Cubs, including pitcher Dillon Maples.

Maples, a right- handed pitcher out of Southern Pines, NC, spent 19 games playing for the minor league Cubs in 2016 and showed flashes of his big league abilities. The 6-foot-2 hurler finished with a 1-2 record, 3.60 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 25.0 innings pitched.

The righty had a solid summer camp at Wrigley Field. Maples came on in relief for Jon Lester during the Cubs’ final tune up game against the Minnesota Twins. In 0.2 innings, Maples struck out two batters while giving up a hit and a run. His body of work and sweeping breaking pitches have been enough to impress Cubs first year manager David Ross.

“Dillon’s stuff is real. Dillon’s gotta continue to develop. He’s a guy I have a lot of faith in to continue to move forward. Nobody likes facing him. You talk to our hitters, they don’t like facing him. His slider is a real weapon. It’s real velocity. If this guy takes a couple more steps forward, look out. He’ll be pitching big innings for us.”

“It’s not about development in the big leagues right now. It can’t be in a 60-game season,” president Theo Epstein said. “But Rossy, in fighting for him to be on the team, I think has an idea of how he wants to use him. Maybe pick some spots for him early. That makes sense given his arsenal.”

The Chicago Cubs open the regular season on Friday, July 24 when they host the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EDT