IN BRIEF : Sutcliffe to Start Season for Cubs

From Times staff and wire service reports

Rick Sutcliffe will be the starting pitcher when the Chicago Cubs open their season April 4 at Wrigley Field against the Philadelphia Phillies.

When the word came down Wednesday from Cubs manager Don Zimmer, Sutcliffe expressed some surprise that he had been tapped. He had thought that Zimmer might choose Greg Maddux--whom Sutcliffe calls "The Kid"--because Maddux led the Cubs' pitching staff last year with a record of 18-8.

"Zim makes the decisions, and I have a lot of respect for his opinion," Sutcliffe said. "He's helped me an awful lot, but I've got mixed emotions, just because I know 'The Kid' had a better year than I did."

Meanwhile, the Cubs whittled their list of unsigned players down to an even dozen Wednesday with the signing of two young outfielders and a pitcher.

Pitcher Jeff Pico and outfielders Dwight Smith and Doug Dascenzo agreed to one-year contracts, terms of which were not announced, Cub spokesman Ned Colletti said.

Among those still unsigned are Maddux and fellow pitcher Paul Kilgus, plus first baseman Mark Grace and catcher Damon Berryhill.

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