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Cubs vs. Giants at Mesa Preview, Monday 3/25, 3:05 CT

One week from today, the Cubs will open the season in Pittsburgh. Two roster spots are still up for grabs.


SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Three pitchers remain in camp with a shot at the final spot in the bullpen. It's possible the Cubs might look elsewhere for help (as I mentioned yesterday, what about Mark Lowe, just released by the Dodgers?), but for now, here are the remaining three, with some comments on their strengths and weaknesses:

  • Hisanori Takahashi. Is lefthanded, and the Cubs could probably use an additional lefthander in the pen. Has pitched reasonably well this spring (3.29 ERA, 1.39 WHIP in 13⅔ innings). On the other hand: turns 38 next week. Wasn't very good in 2012 for the Pirates.
  • Zach Putnam. Has also pitched reasonably well this spring (3.00 ERA, 1.556 WHIP in 10 relief appearances covering nine innings), and is only 25 -- could still have upside. On the other hand: almost no MLB experience (9⅓ innings over the last two years with the Indians and Rockies).
  • Cory Wade. Has not thrown that well this spring (5.63 ERA, two home runs allowed in eight innings). On the other hand: was really good for the Dodgers in 2008, and the Yankees in 2011. On yet another hand: was really bad for the Dodgers in 2009, and the Yankees in 2012.

So who would you choose? I might lean toward Takahashi because he's lefthanded. But, you'll say, he's 38! Doesn't matter if he can get hitters out. Wade got hitters out pretty well for a couple of big-league seasons for teams that made the playoffs. But then he turned inexplicably bad. Putnam has upside at his age, but his lack of experience could be an issue.

Who's your selection? Vote in the poll.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Lillibridge SS, Clevenger 1B, Soriano LF, Schierholtz RF, Navarro C, Valbuena 3B, Gonzalez 2B, Wood P

Steve Clevenger, getting more playing time at the end of camp; Dale Sveum appears to be giving him a shot at several positions. If he keeps hitting (yes, I know, spring-training stats are mostly meaningless), he's got a pretty good shot at the last 25-man roster spot. In fact, Carrie thinks it's a done deal:

Giants lineup:

Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Arias SS, Posey C, Gillespie LF, Torres RF, Linden 1B, Noonan 3B, Vogelsong P

This afternoon, Travis Wood pitches against San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong. Cubs relievers on today's list: Michael Bowden, Blake Parker, Cory Wade and Shawn Camp. Gameday

This afternoon's game will be televised on CSN Chicago, the cable outlet's first telecast of the year. It's also on as a webcast.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today.

For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today, that will be 3 p.m. CT and 4:30 p.m. CT. These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. They will also appear in this StoryStream™. The pitcher box and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.

Discuss amongst yourselves.