Extra bases

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija will pitch in a Minor League game on Wednesday instead of facing the Rangers, and Hisanori Takahashi will make the start for Chicago. Takahashi, a non-roster invitee this spring who has pitched for the Mets, Angels and Pirates, has given up three hits over four innings in three games.

"He's everything we expect," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Monday. "He's a strike thrower -- he can throw every pitch for a strike. Obviously, the velocity isn't great, but he was 89 [mph] yesterday. He has command of his pitches and can do a lot of things. He can pitch long, get left-handers out. He's a veteran guy who knows how to pitch."

The Cubs appear to have only one lefty slotted for the 'pen in James Russell. Sveum would like another one.

"It'd be nice, especially a guy who can go multiple innings," Sveum said. "Right now, you could be in a situation where we don't have a long guy."

Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery, had his third live BP session on Monday. The next step for the right-hander is a simulated game this week, and if that goes well, he could get into a Cactus League game soon. Baker was projected to be ready for the regular season in mid-April.

• Darnell McDonald was concerned when his line drive deflected off Indians starter Carlos Carrasco in the first inning Monday.

"I was going to check on him, but figured since he threw two, three more innings, he was good," McDonald said.

Carrasco struck out Luis Valbuena to open the Cubs first, then was hit on the side of his head by McDonald's liner. The ball apparently deflected off his glove. Carrasco fell to his knees on the mound, and was tended to by the Indians athletic trainer, but he did stay in the game and lasted three innings.

"I definitely thought I had a knock right there," McDonald said of the liner off the pitcher. "Most important, you don't want to see anyone get hurt at this time of year. For him to stay in the game and do what he did, I knew he was OK. I'll just keep trying to hit the ball hard and hopefully, it'll fall in there. Right now, it's about feeling good and getting in a groove."

• Dan Vogelbach, the Cubs' second pick in the 2011 Draft, appeared in his first Cactus League game on Sunday and showed some discipline at the plate.

"He had a heck of an at-bat with the bases loaded," Sveum said of the first baseman's at-bat in the sixth. "The [pitcher] made a heck of a pitch with a back-door breaking ball to finish him off. He came right back the next time and took his walk in a big situation [in the ninth]."

Vogebach came up in the ninth and was ahead 3-0 in the count, and took a pitch.

"I would've liked to see him maybe swing at that 3-0 pitch -- I don't know where it was on the plate," Sveum said. "I know he's a young kid coming over, but he had the green light to swing away. It was nice to see his patience. I don't think he swung at a bad pitch. "

Sveum has been keeping an eye on Vogelbach.

"That's one guy, from all the video I've watched, you can just tell some guys can just hit," Sveum said. "They're more patient than other hitters. Obviously, the bat speed is fine. For a young kid, he's pretty polished already as far as pitch selection and trusting himself."

• The first roster cuts will likely be Friday, Sveum said. The Cubs still have four split-squad games remaining.

• Video staffer Nate Halm beat pitcher Travis Wood on Monday in a sweet 16 match to advance to the elite eight in the Cubs bunt tournament. Also moving on were pitcher Blake Parker, catcher Michael Brenly and infielder Edwin Maysonet. Infielder Logan Watkins also has advanced to the elite eight, beating Anthony Rizzo on Sunday.

• The Cubs will not use the designated hitter for the first time this spring on Tuesday. Feldman will bat for himself.