Ryan Dempster was selected by Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade to start the season opener April 1 against the Pirates.
Dempster was picked over right-hander Carlos Zambrano, who has started the past six openers for the Cubs. Zambrano will start the second game followed by Matt Garza in third game of the opening series. The Cubs obtained Garza from Tampa Bay.
"We know they are 1, 2 and 3," Quade said. "They're all going to need to pitch well. I looked at matchups. It's opening day, OK, and it's a big deal. But I looked at matchups going into Milwaukee, so on and so forth. There's 100 reasons that go into this."
Zambrano has a 9-5 record with a 3.19 ERA at Milwaukee's Miller Park. The Cubs open a series there April 8, and Zambrano will be scheduled to pitch that game.
Adam Wainwright will pitch in the first spring training exhibition against the Florida Marlins, putting the NL Cy Young Award runner-up in line to take the mound for the March 31 opener against the San Diego Padres. Wainwright's only other opening-day start was 2009.
Justin Morneau said he is feeling better seven months after a concussion ended his season, but he likely will not play in Minnesota's first few games of spring training. Morneau said he still feels a little foggy occasionally after a strenuous workout. But he plans on being ready to go for opening day on April 1.
Atlanta signed general manager Frank Wren to a two-year contract extension through the 2013 season.