And so it begins: Reds bench Chris Heisey on Opening Day

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Manager Dusty Baker announced his Opening Day lineup on Wednesday, with Chris Heisey nowhere to be found:

2B Brandon Phillips
SS Zach Cozart
1B Joey Votto
3B Scott Rolen
RF Jay Bruce
LF Ryan Ludwick
CF Drew Stubbs
C Ryan Hanigan
SP Johnny Cueto

Another notable absence is that of Rookie of the Year hopeful Devin Mesoraco.

This post is about Heisey, though.  The 27-year-old has hit .254/.316/.465 in 480 at-bats for the Reds the last two years. It’s not great, but it’s a whole lot better than Ludwick’s .244/.318/.391 line over the same timespan.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Baker explained the decision by saying he didn’t like how Heisey would match up against Mark Buehrle. For what it’s worth, neither Heisey nor Ludwick has ever faced Buehrle before. Both are right-handed hitters. Heisey, though, has had a big reverse platoon split up to this point of his career.

One game doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. But this was supposed to be Heisey’s year to prove he can play regularly. That he’s already found himself on the bench hardly bodes well.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.