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Cubs tab Jon Lester to start on Opening Day

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Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Jon Lester will start on Opening Day for the Cubs. The Cubs open the season on Thursday, March 29 in Miami against the Marlins.

Lester, 34, will be making his second consecutive and third overall Opening Day start for the Cubs. Lester also started four consecutive Opening Days for the Red Sox from 2011-14. The lefty now leads a Cubs rotation that includes Yu Darvish and no longer includes Jake Arrieta, who is still a free agent.

Last year, Lester put up his worst ERA since 2012, finishing with a 4.33 ERA and a 180/60 K/BB ratio in 180 2/3 innings.

Daniel Murphy will miss the start of the season

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Daniel Murphy said today that he will not be ready for Opening Day and will start the year on the disabled list.

Murphy had microfracture knee surgery last October. While he has been able to take batting practice and field ground balls, his lateral movement is still limited. In his absence — which is not expected to last past mid-April or so — Howie Kendrick will get the bulk of the playing time at second base.

Murphy hit .322/.384/.543, smacked 23 homers and knocked in 93 RBI in 2017.