Fowler's footwork, voice key to patrolling center

Wood, Turner to start split-squad games Thursday

Fowler's footwork, voice key to patrolling center

MESA, Ariz. -- Dexter Fowler has had to play in some giant-sized ballparks with the Rockies and Astros. Wrigley Field will be a little different, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes what he's seen of the center fielder.

Maddon watches the outfielder's feet during drills, and so far, Fowler's footwork has passed the tests. What will be key, Maddon said, is communication between Fowler and the corner outfielders.

"Under the circumstances, it's really big that the other outfielders become engaged," Maddon said.

Maddon has limited exposure to Wrigley, having managed there for three games last year.

Travis Wood and Jacob Turner, both battling for the fifth spot in the rotation, will each start Thursday when the Cubs open the Cactus League schedule with split-squad games. Wood will face the Athletics at Sloan Park in Mesa, while Turner will start in Scottsdale against the Giants.

Jorge Soler is apparently having a very good spring. He had three stars on his cap Tuesday. Bench coach Dave Martinez awards the stars for good work or deeds.

• Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will broadcast their first spring games Saturday and Sunday on Gameday Audio. Coomer was at camp Tuesday and feeling great after successful knee replacement surgery on his right knee in November.

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.