03/22/11 4:44 PM ET
Quade in process of finalizing rotation, bullpen
Silva, Cashner, Looper competing for Cubs' final starting spot
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Quade met Tuesday with general manager Jim Hendry, assistant general manager Randy Bush, pitching coach Mark Riggins and bench coach Pat Listach to go over the roster, including the fifth spot in the rotation.
Randy Wells, who has a 1.35 ERA this spring, has secured the No. 4 spot, and it's down to Carlos Silva, Andrew Cashner and Braden Looper for the last opening.
Silva, who has a 15.88 ERA in four outings, will start Wednesday against the Athletics, while Carlos Zambrano, who is set, will go to the Minor League camp to get his work in. Cashner threw nearly 60 pitches over three innings Monday in the rain against the Angels but has not been stretched out to 80 pitches.
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Plus, the final spots in the bullpen still have to be determined. Do the Cubs carry four left-handed relievers? Who's the designated long man?
"I have a lot to sleep on and or not sleep on tonight regarding the pitching, and other areas, too," Quade said Tuesday. "In the next couple days, we have to get this thing done. The truck's leaving Sunday."
That's the moving truck, which will take the players' personal belongings to Chicago, where the Cubs open the season April 1 against the Pirates.
Quade said he and the front office were in agreement on most of the decisions.
"Some decisions are based on how Mike Quade is going to run a game and how do different people factor into different situations," Quade said. "In those instances, my input is huge. I just wanted to get everything on the table."
Cashner was used strictly in relief last season but has been stretched out this spring. Quade was not sure when the right-hander would start again. Plus, whoever does get that fifth spot could stay behind in Arizona to get work done in the Minor League camp rather than go to Chicago on March 30.
"The kid's a work in progress," Quade said of Cashner. "It would be great to get through five innings. I would like to see him make 80 pitches if for nothing else, even though we'll be very careful pitch count-wise early in the season, it would still be good for him to do that."
Looper, a non-roster invitee, has not gone beyond 3 2/3 innings in his four spring outings. He has made one start on March 13 against the Diamondbacks and gave up one run on five hits over 3 2/3 innings.
"No one battling for that spot has been consistent, I will say, and that will worry me when the fifth spot in the rotation has not been consistent in May or June," Quade said.
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.