DENVER -- What's the key to Michael Bowden's recent success? He's been pitching more frequently.
The Cubs right-hander has thrown nine scoreless innings dating to Sept. 6, and he has given up one run over 13 1/3 innings in 11 games this month.
"In any job, it's really hard to be consistent and crisp if you're not getting consistent repetitions," Bowden said. "I know I'm much better when I get a lot of work, consistent work. I'm able to repeat my delivery. It's just a lot easier to grow and become better the more you get out there."
Bowden is one of several pitchers auditioning for spots on the roster next season. He said the relievers don't sit in the bullpen and talk about 2013.
"Never in my career have I gone into spring or a season expecting a job, especially on a big league staff," Bowden said. "I work all offseason so I can go into Spring Training in the best shape as possible and try to make the team. This is a small amount of time I've been doing well and I'm not taking it for granted. I'll work hard in the offseason, and hope I'll be a part of the organization next year."
Part of Bowden's offseason will include pitching in the Dominican Republic in the Winter Leagues.
Sappelt gets look at leading off vs. lefty
DENVER -- Dave Sappelt could be the next Reed Johnson on the Cubs.
Sappelt, who batted leadoff on Tuesday for the first time this season, is trying to impress on the Cubs that he could handle the role that Johnson filled, which was providing a right-handed bat off the bench plus someone who could sub in the outfield.
Sappelt started things out well against the Rockies, hitting his first Major League home run in the first inning.
"Since he's been here, he's shown us some really good at-bats and shown the ability to hit a fastball and get his walks as well," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said before Tuesday's matchup against Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa. "I thought I'd stick him in that leadoff spot and see what happens."
Sappelt was hitting .333 against left-handed pitchers in 18 at-bats since he was called up from Triple-A Iowa on Sept. 1. At Iowa, Sappelt batted .331 against left-handers and .236 against right-handed pitching. He primarily batted second and seventh with Iowa.
"The guy's got some hitting ability," Sveum said. "He's got bat speed, he can hit a fastball. That's ahead of the scale right there to be able to do that, especially doing it off the bench when you're going to face velocity and stuff."
Johnson opened the year with the Cubs but was dealt at the Trade Deadline to the Braves.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum has recommended to third baseman Josh Vitters and outfielder Tony Campana that they consider playing winter ball.
"The more you play, the better you're going to be," Sveum said Tuesday. "I think some people nowadays use the winters too much sometimes to work out and rest when you can go play instructional league or [Arizona Fall League] or winter leagues. There's no substitute for playing."
Sveum said he and the front office have talked about having Brett Jackson spend the winter working on some of the adjustments they want him to make rather than play.
First baseman Bryan LaHair has played in Venezuela in the winter, but said he will probably not participate in games this offseason.
Arodys Vizcaino, whom the Cubs acquired from the Braves in the Paul Maholm deal, was at Coors Field on Tuesday to work out. Vizcaino is coming back from Tommy John surgery and should be ready to pitch in Spring Training, but Sveum said the right-hander is a starter candidate for 2014.
"He's going to come into Spring Training ready to pitch but we'll baby him through everything," Sveum said. "We'll baby that situation as much as you can and have him ready for the next season."
The Cubs Bar & Grill was unveiled Tuesday at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. Located in Terminal 3, it features items served at Wrigley Field, such as Vienna Beef Hot Dogs. Patrons also can choose from a variety of newly created appetizers, salads, soups and burgers. More than 20 beer selections are offered at the bar, as well as a selection of cocktails and wines.
The Cubs Bar & Grill has a replica Wrigley Field marquee, Cubs memorabilia, framed autographed jerseys, photos of celebrity seventh-inning stretch performers, classic magazine covers and historic team logos. Guests will also be able to purchase Cubs souvenirs at the restaurant's retail kiosk, including authenticated game-used and autographed Cubs Authentics memorabilia.
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.