MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Mike Quade will post the lineup for the Cactus League opener on Friday, and the only thing that appears to be set is that Aramis Ramirez will bat fourth.
That's been Ramirez's spot for the majority of his career, and where he's hit for the Cubs.
"I see him as such a good RBI guy that it makes sense in the four-hole," Quade said Thursday of the third baseman, who has a career .293 average with runners on. "He's a guy who, as much mixing and matching that I do, he doesn't figure to be one of the guys I'll mix and match with. Some guys don't care [where they are in the lineup], and I know he does. He seems like the four-hole to me because I want him driving in runs.
"But I'm a grownup and I reserve the right to change my mind."
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Which means, expect some experimentation this spring.
Quade would like to keep Starlin Castro No. 2. The shortstop does have speed and can bunt. Couldn't he lead off?
"No," Quade said. "Because he's young. ... He hasn't earned the right to figure he's going to hit anywhere, although he hit .300 in the two-hole. I think I'm smart enough to say, 'Look, I'll take .300 in the two-hole again.'"
Castro, entering his second season, still needs to learn pitch selection and still needs to get more experience.
"There's all sorts of value for where he's at right now," Quade said of the shortstop, who turns 21 in March. "I'd like to think he will be talented enough to be that guy someday."
Quade's other reason to keep Castro in a spot where he's comfortable is because of the dreaded sophomore jinx.
"I am leery, and I hope he proves me wrong, but I am leery about the second year thing, too," Quade said. "If we want this guy to play well and especially get off to a decent start with all the adjustments that will be made by other clubs on him, if we leave him somewhere where he's comfortable, I'd like to do that."
Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza, who will be the Nos. 2 and 3 starters, respectively, in the Cubs' rotation, both are slated to pitch Sunday in the Cactus League opener against the Athletics. Closer Carlos Marmol also will get one inning of work.
Quade plans on posting Sunday's lineup on Friday, and also would like to note not only the starters but the subs as well.
"I want to sit and evaluate and watch guys play," Quade said, "and there's no reason in the world why I can't say, [Castro] is playing short for five innings, two at-bats, and [Darwin] Barney is picking him up.'"
Quade did try to get a head start on plotting his lineups a couple days ago and had a few players set for the entire month of March. Then he realized that he'd forgot to include the four split-squad games on the Cubs' schedule.
Looper keeping in touch with friend Wainwright
MESA, Ariz. -- Braden Looper was Adam Wainwright's teammate on the St. Louis Cardinals, and both serve on a board of directors of an organization. Looper last saw Wainwright this offseason, and as soon as Looper heard about Wainwright's elbow injury, he sent a text message to his friend.
"He told me a couple jokes, back and forth," Looper said Thursday of Wainwright. "He didn't know what was going on yet."
If he was joking, then maybe Wainwright didn't think his elbow injury was that serious?
"That's just his personality," said Looper, who hoped to call Wainwright later Thursday. "I'm sure it's tough. It's a big loss for a team like that -- any team. That's just his personality, and you have to know him to appreciate it. He's a good, hard worker and he'll be all right."
Looper, a non-roster invitee in Cubs camp, didn't know any details about Wainwright's injury. The Cardinals announced Thursday that he will need Tommy John surgery.
"I know that, knowing him, he's a character guy and he's a guy who shows young guys how to work hard, so I know he'll be all right," Looper said. "That's a comforting thing for me, knowing that he's a guy who will bust his butt to get back."
The Cubs may benefit from the Cardinals losing their 20-game winner from the rotation, but Looper would like to face a team when it's at full strength.
"We want to beat them because we're better," he said. "You never want to wish a guy to get hurt. You want to say at the end of the day, hopefully, we're a better team than they are. Every team goes through adversity. Obviously, [the Cardinals'] is starting sooner than ours. I'm sure there will be something we'll have to go through. Every team goes through something."
Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza and Carlos Marmol are all slated to pitch on Sunday in the Cubs' Cactus League opener against the Athletics at HoHoKam Park. On Monday, when the Cubs play host to the Brewers, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner are slated to pitch. Ryan Dempster, who will be the Opening Day starter, will make his first spring start Tuesday in Scottsdale against the Giants. Carlos Silva and James Russell are both slated to pitch Wednesday against the Rangers. ... Mike Quade's reflexes were tested during a defensive drill when a ball hit by hitting coordinator Tom Beyer nearly clipped the Cubs' manager. ... Single-game tickets go on sale Friday on cubs.com. ... Quade will make sure he rests players during the season to keep them fresh because of all the day games. "Some of the things I learned from Lou [Piniella], that was probably as important as anything," Quade said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.