03/25/11 9:04 PM ET
Coleman making case for final pitching spot
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
He retired all three, and although Coleman won't know where he'll start the 2011 season until Saturday, that one inning may help him the rest of the year.
Coleman got ahead of Matsui, 0-2, and then tried to throw a fastball in. In his previous outing, he had executed that pitch well. The right-hander threw a good one but didn't get the call. His next pitch was a changeup, and Matsui flew out.
"It was a good experience, facing those hitters," Coleman said.
He's being considered for either the rotation or the bullpen for the Cubs, who have one opening left. Cubs manager Mike Quade said Friday that Andrew Cashner has made the team but had yet to designate his role. If Cashner goes to the bullpen, there's one opening in the rotation. If Cashner is a starter, there's an opening in the 'pen.
Coleman said he'd do whatever the Cubs want.
"I like to say I have a rubber arm," he said. "I love being out there whenever they need me. Yeah, it's Spring Training and you're still trying to get in shape, but eight pitches [Wednesday], and I was fine. I could go [Thursday, Friday], whenever they needed me."
What impressed the Cubs was how the right-hander handled the A's lefties.
"That's a plus because they can trust you no matter what the situation is," he said. "If the bullpen needs a rest, and you're in the bullpen, it gives them a lot more confidence, especially against a lefty like [Matsui], who's proven in the big leagues."
It's taken a little time for the 23-year-old pitcher to develop that. Last season, he was 10-7 with a 4.07 ERA at Triple-A Iowa and was called up to the big leagues for the first time. He went 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 12 games, making eight starts.
"For me, it's just confidence," Coleman said. "Last year I started to struggle a little against lefties. Being able to execute the changeup early and the fastball in late, if you can do that, you'll have success against lefties. Being a left-handed hitter, I know how tough it was to stay in on a fastball that tails back or a changeup away. I'm using that to my advantage."
Being a hitter has helped him become a better pitcher.
"I know how hard it is to be a hitter," he said. "It gives you that extra confidence knowing these guys up there aren't perfect. It's definitely an added confidence boost."
Looper retires after not making Cubs' roster
MESA, Ariz. -- Braden Looper, trying to make a comeback with the Cubs, was told Friday he would not make the team's Opening Day 25-man roster and announced he would retire.
Looper, 36, was a candidate for the Cubs' fifth spot in the rotation, which has not been finalized. He pitched two innings in relief on Thursday against the White Sox and appeared in five games, posting a 9.95 ERA. Carlos Silva, Andrew Cashner and Casey Coleman are competing for the opening.
Looper did not pitch last season after going 14-7 with a 5.22 ERA with the Brewers in 2009. He compiled a career 72-65 record, 103 saves and 4.15 ERA in 670 games with the Cardinals, Marlins, Mets and Brewers.
"After taking the year off, he came in and gave it a good shot," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "We just felt in the end he wasn't going to be able to break with the 12 [pitchers].
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"He certainly had an outstanding career and it was a good, sound idea and I'm glad we did it," Hendry said about inviting Looper to camp. "He handled himself like a true professional and was very helpful to the young pitchers in camp and was very appreciative of the opportunity and understood why he could not break with the 12."
Looper lives in the Chicago area and had said at the start of camp that he didn't want to pitch anywhere except with the Cubs because he didn't want to relocate his family again.
"Here's a guy like this who has over 11 years in the big leagues, he's taking another shot, kind of a local guy in the Chicago area," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "He came in and gave it everything he has. You feel bad, but he had a wonderful career. He's got a good family. He's got a lot going for him. I've let people go in the past who didn't have the personal qualities that Loop has ... and it was tough to send him out.
"He'll be just fine. My sense is, given the way he handles himself, when the kids are gone and he wants to come back in the game, he needs a recommendation, he can call me."
Belleson named new Wrigley PA announcer
MESA, Ariz. -- Andrew Belleson, who was the public address announcer and handled radio broadcast duties for the Rockford RiverHawks for five seasons, was named the new public address announcer at Wrigley Field on Friday.
The Cubs selected Belleson from 2,954 applications from 48 states and Canada. He began his broadcast career at age 15 with the RiverHawks, helping on a part-time basis during summers off from high school.
A native of suburban Arlington Heights, Ill., he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a concentration in radio/television broadcasting from Concordia University in River Forest, Ill. He played baseball at Concordia and helped build the sports department for the local college radio station, WCGR 88.5 FM, including broadcasting for football, basketball and baseball games.
A lifelong Cubs fan, Belleson grew up idolizing Harry Caray and has attended Cubs games since childhood.
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.