Banks to be honored on Opening Night

Banks to be honored on Opening Night

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs will honor Hall of Famer Ernie Banks on Sunday, when they host the Cardinals at Wrigley Field to open the regular season.

Banks passed away in January at the age of 83.

Banks' two sons, Joey and Jerry, will throw out ceremonial first pitches, and will also lead the crowd in the seventh-inning stretch. The Cubs are wearing commemorative No. 14 patches on both the home and away jerseys this season, and the bases used on Opening Night will be adorned with Ernie Banks tribute jewels.

Each fan attending Opening Night will receive a commemorative No. 14 pin.

Chris Denorfia took batting practice on Tuesday but has not been able to play in a game since injuring his left hamstring.

"Opening Day is still in jeopardy," manager Joe Maddon said. "You have to figure that out when you fill out the roster, too."

The Cubs have seven outfielders in camp: Denorfia, Chris Coghlan, Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler, Junior Lake, Ryan Sweeney and Matt Szczur.

"We have to get some real clarity by [Wednesday]," Maddon said.

Relievers Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez were seen chatting with Maddon, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and pitching coach Chris Bosio. Grimm was flexing his right arm in an awkward way, but Maddon says the two relievers were discussing their walk-up music and what order they'll go late in games.

Travis Wood and Kyle Hendricks are scheduled to pitch on Saturday when the Cubs close the spring schedule with an exhibition game against the D-backs at Chase Field. The rest of the Major League team will be headed to Chicago before the first pitch as Maddon, his staff and the players prepare for the season opener.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for 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.