Maddon: Lester likely to get Opening Night start

Maddon: Lester likely to get Opening Night start

MESA, Ariz. -- It's not official, and it's definitely not a surprise, but Jon Lester is expected to be the Cubs' Opening Night starter on April 5 at Wrigley Field against the Cardinals.

"I would think that he has to be," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Saturday about Lester getting the assignment, "but I need to talk to him first.

"I think it's appropriate if you're going to do something like that, to talk to Jon first, before we make any kind of announcement like that, but I'm not going to sit here and be disingenuous," Maddon said. "I really need to sit and speak to him first."

Lester signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs this offseason, and Maddon has often referred to the lefty as the "anchor" of the pitching staff. The Cubs' other option would be Jake Arrieta, who was 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA in 25 starts last season.

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.