Yesterday’s news that Matt Garza will start the season on the disabled list allowed the Chicago Cubs to announce that Jeff Samardzija will be the opening day starter. We know that Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman and Travis Wood are likely to be the next three parts of the rotation, but who fills in the fifth spot until either Scott Baker or Garza are ready to go? You know who’s not worried about that question? Spellcheck.
“We feel like we got a good core of dudes here in the starting rotation that all have each other’s back,” Samardzija said. “We just want everybody healthy and ready to go. We know if we can string start after start with all of us healthy pitching, we’re going to be a formidable starting rotation.”
Cubs executives talk about needing nine or 10 starters to get through a 162-game season. Brooks Raley and Chris Rusin could provide depth at the back end. Sveum identified Drew Carpenter – a 27-year-old non-roster player who has made one career start in the big leagues – as next in line as a possible No. 6 starter.
Remember Boo Radley? Remember how we couldn’t tell him or Chris Rusin apart? I’d say remember Drew Carpenter, but I don’t think anyone, anywhere remembers him. And don’t forget, Casey Coleman is lurking somewhere in camp.
If you’re eager for bullpen news, non-roster invitee Hisanori Takahashi will be starting for the Cubs tomorrow. Dale Sveum hopes the elderly lefty has something left in his tank.
“He’s everything we expect,” Dale Sveum said Monday. “He’s a strike thrower, he can throw every pitch for a strike. Obviously, the velocity isn’t great but he was 89 [mph] yesterday. he has command of his pitches and can do a lot of things. He can pitch long, get left-handers out. He’s a veteran guy who knows how to pitch.”
Right now, the Cubs appear to have only one lefty slotted for the ‘pen in James Russell. Sveum would like another one.
“It’d be nice, especially a guy who can go multiple innings,” Sveum said. “Right now, you could be in a situation where we don’t have a long guy.”
Sounds like a ringing endorsement, Dale! And to round things out, the Cubs are giving Starlin Castro another week off from playing. He doesn’t need it, but they want him to have it, anyway. Or something.
“He’s fine,” Sveum said. “He did everything [Sunday] and there’s nothing going on. He took full [batting practice]. Today, he’ll be out here on the field taking a round of [batting practice], same as yesterday. We can’t even simulate any kind of discomfort or feeling in the hamstring.”
So, why give Castro another week?
“Because we have plenty of time,” Sveum said. “A week from now, you’re talking the 10th or 11th [of March], and we have 20 plus games after that. That’s plenty of time for him to get in Opening Day shape.”
Added Sveum: “If it was the regular season, he’d probably be playing.”
I wish my job would do that for me.