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Why Andrew Cashner Should Be In The Cubs Bullpen: Cubs vs. Dodgers Preview, Thursday 5/27, 1:20 CT

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Last night, BCB'er toonsterwu posted this FanShot linking to a Des Moines Register article indicating Andrew Cashner was to be moved to the bullpen, starting today:

Andrew Cashner, 3-0 with an 0.95 ERA in his first three triple-A starts, transitions from starter to reliever during Thursday’s noon game against Salt Lake at Principal Park.

"It surprised me when I first heard about it," said Cashner, who got the news Wednesday. "I talked to (the Chicago Cubs) about going to relief a while back, but it was always their thought that I was going to start.

"Working out of the bullpen is something right now that excites me."

It’s likely Cashner’s best route to the major leagues, for the moment, considering the Chicago Cubs have six starters for five spots in the rotation.

The usual slam-Jim-Hendry comments from many of you followed.

But let me tell you a story about a similar move that paid off for a recent team, as well as the pitcher involved.

There's a righthanded pitcher, drafted within the last ten years, in the first round. He was a starter throughout his minor league career. He had a little longer route to the majors because he was drafted out of high school, not college as Cashner was. But when he was recalled to the major leagues, at 24 (just a little older than Cashner is now) he was put in his team's bullpen, did an outstanding job, and -- here's the best part -- was lights-out in the postseason and got the save for his team in the decisive game of the World Series.

The next season he was inserted into his team's rotation and has been one of his league's best pitchers since.

I don't usually do this -- the part of these posts after the jump is usually reserved for game preview info -- but I'm going to make you guess who this pitcher is. See if you can figure it out before you click "Continue reading this post".

You've probably guessed this one, but in case you haven't, the pitcher I was talking about above the fold is Adam Wainwright, the #1 pick of the Braves in 2000. Traded to the Cardinals in 2003 in a multi-player deal that centered around J.D. Drew (Jason Marquis was also sent to St. Louis in that one), he moved up the Cardinals' minor league system as a starter -- but wound up in St. Louis' bullpen in 2006, and did an excellent job there. When their closer Jason Isringhausen got hurt late in the year, Wainwright was installed as closer and wound up being the guy on the mound closing out the World Series. And then, Wainwright returned to starting with the 2007 Cardinals and has been a solid member of their rotation since.

Obviously, I don't hope for Carlos Marmol to get hurt and for Cashner to close -- Marmol's been great. But Cashner could serve a role on this year's team -- wouldn't you like to see him as part of a setup tandem for Marmol along with Sean Marshall? One season's worth of this, and then you could have Cashner in the 2011 rotation.

I think it's a great idea and hope Andrew Cashner is part of the Cubs' bullpen sometime next month.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
Ted Lilly
Cubs
vs. John Ely
John Ely
Dodgers
1-4 W-L 3-1
4.30 ERA 3.41
21 SO 28
10 BB 4
5 HR 0
vs. LA -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Ted Lilly 1-4 6 6 0 0 0 0 37.2 36 19 18 5 10 21 4.30 1.22


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - John Ely 3-1 5 5 0 0 0 0 31.2 29 12 12 0 4 28 3.41 1.04

The college photo above is the only decent headshot I could find of John Ely, a Chicago-area native (Homewood-Flossmoor HS) who went to Miami University (Ohio) and was drafted in the third round by the White Sox in 2007. He went to the Dodgers in the Juan Pierre deal -- already a steal for LA. This will be his sixth major league start and first vs. the Cubs.

Ted Lilly faced the Dodgers twice last year and was 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 10 K's in 13 innings. Lifetime, the lefty, who was originally drafted by LA in the 23rd round in 1996, is 3-1, 3.96 in six appearances (five starts) against the Dodgers. He has held current Dodgers to a .219 average (35-for-160); Manny Ramirez has hit four HR off Ted, but overall only .244 against him (11-for-45).

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and Prime, the LA cable station. It's also being picked up by the MLB Network for national coverage -- not sure which feed.Here is the rest of the MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Dodgers site True Blue LA.

Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 2:15, 3:15 and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.