CHICAGO (CBS) — The games will start counting when the 2020 Major League Baseball season begins on Friday, but this weekend was just about fun.
The Cubs and White Sox played a Crosstown exhibition game at Wrigley Field on Sunday, and will play another on Monday. It may have been the most anticipated exhibition baseball game in town since Michael Jordan played at Wrigley during his hiatus from basketball in 1994 – though this time, of course, there’s that wrinkle that no fans can come.
It was odd to see Wrigley Field empty for the Cubs and Sox, but they did still have a few fans on the surrounding rooftops on Sheffield and Waveland avenues checking it out. That might be the spot this year.
The Cubs announced Northbrook native Jason Kipnis made the team, and he started the scoring with a first-inning home run for the Cubs.
But the Sox rallied in the fifth inning with six runs, including a blast from Adam Engle off Kyle Hendricks that almost left the ballpark.
The Sox had seven hits in the fifth inning, and the free-agent addition Yasmani Grandal delivered a two-run double. The Sox have plenty of bats this year.
The White Sox beat the Cubs 7-3.
The Monday night game will be at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Meanwhile, White Sox Manager Rick Renteria has given the opening day nod to Lucas Giolito. Giolito will face the Minnesota Twins when the season starts Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
He has made amazing progress since a tough 2018.
“Grew immensely over the last couple of years. He’s much more comfortable in his own skin,” Renteria said. “He’s always been comfortable in his own skin, but I’m sure that having success continues to build on that confidence.”
“I think there’s excitement on our team across the league,” Giolito said. “This season – despite the fact that we’re starting so late – it’s really creeping up on us here. Summer camp feels like it just blew by, and now we’re ready to go, and I feel like our team is very prepared to begin the season strong.”
For the Cubs, Anthony Rizzo is not playing in the exhibition games. But he is making progress with his rehab.
Rizzo has been limited for two weeks with a tight lower back. But on Sunday, he took some batting practice and did fielding drills at Wrigley Field.
He hopes to play in the final scrimmage against the Minnesota Twins, but more importantly, be ready by opening day.
“It feels great. I was hitting today with really no pain at all, which is good, and I feel like today’s a really big day. Opening Day does mean a lot to me, to be in the opening day start with the Chicago Cubs,” Rizzo said. “That’s the goal, and I feel like with how I felt today; how I was moving today, it’s definitely in the right direction.”