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Tag:Randy Wells
Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:02 am
Edited on: March 16, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Pepper: Sign spring's end is near



By Matt Snyder


How can you best tell when spring is winding down and the real Major League Baseball season is nearing? Well, a few things. The snow finally stops falling. I guess, though this year who really knows. It's liable to snow at some places into May at this rate. Another good sign is watching the NCAA basketball tournament on CBS (shameless plug alert). How about baseball teams starting to name -- or get close to naming -- a fifth starting pitcher? That's a pretty good one, and it's happening in a lot of different places right now.

We've already passed along that Mark Rogers has been demoted, which leaves Wily Peralta the Brewers' likely five . We've also noted Michael Pineda being in Seattle's driver's seat as well. But there are plenty more.

Esmil Rogers looks like he's opening up a lead over John Maine and Greg Reynolds for the Rockies, after working five innings Tuesday and only facing the minimum 15 batters. (Denver Post )

Brandon McCarthy has gotten in the good graces of manager Bob Geren for being "impressive" and "consistent" in looking to win the A's fifth starting job behind a pretty underrated top four of Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden and Gio Gonzalez. (San Francisco Chronicle )

Ever since Adam Wainwright went down with injury and the Cardinals said they were going to look internally, Kyle McClellan has been the front-runner to take the remaining spot. And every outing since then, he's gotten rave reviews and been tabbed as the front-runner. Thus, it would be pretty shocking if he didn't get the job. Still, the word from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is that McClellan is merely "closer" to getting the nod.

Speaking of shocking, it would be just as shocking if Randy Wells doesn't win one of the Cubs' two remaining rotation slots. He's throwing well this spring and has the past experience. It also appears that former first-round pick Andrew Cashner is putting some distance between himself and the rest of the field as well. We'll get back to Cashner in a second. (MLB.com )

Of course, there is one team a bit behind the curve here. The Texas Rangers, your defending American League champs, still have a whopping seven guys in the mix for two spots. If a decision is made to start Neftali Feliz, one that seems increasingly likely with each passing day, that narrows the field to six guys for one spot. Those six: Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Michael Kirkman, Alexi Ogando, Dave Bush and Eric Hurley. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram )

THE PROFESSOR: Of the two nicknames you see listed for Greg Maddux on baseball-reference.com, I always preferred "the Professor," even though it's nowhere near mainstream. He was so much more cerebral than his opposition, seemingly getting guys out just with his mind. Thus, it's only fitting he's passing along some knowledge to Cashner in Cubs camp as a special assistant. His latest nugget? "Walks are overrated." It's not surprising, coming from a guy who probably never walked someone by accident in his prime. Those who remember watching him in the mid-90s are nodding in agreement. You could feel when Maddux was walking someone on purpose; otherwise it didn't happen. Oh, and if Maddux's wisdom isn't enough, Kerry Wood has also taken Cashner under his wing. (Chicago Tribune )

RUSSELL THE MUSCLE: Hey, someone has to fill the void left by Mark Reynolds -- both in terms of power and strikeouts. Despite his lackluster defense -- which is reportedly a concern for manager Kirk Gibson -- Russell Branyan is turning heads by killing the ball this spring, to the tune of a 1.274 OPS. And don't scoff. While Branyan has a bad batting average and strikeout issues, his career OPS-plus is 115 and he averages 31 home runs over the course of 162 games. He need only hold off Juan Miranda and once-big prospect Brandon Allen. (MLB.com )

NO WORRIES: Clayton Kershaw was torched Tuesday by the Rangers, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly isn't worried about his likely ace. Nor should he be, considering it's only the spring and Kershaw entered the game with a 0.00 ERA through 11 1/3 innings. (Los Angeles Times )

SWITCHBACK: Prior to the ALDS last year, the rules for the dreaded catwalk at Tropicana Field were altered, but now those rules are reverting back to where they were in the regular season of 2010. Check out the complete list on St. Petersburg Times .

GETTING GRADY BACK: Sunday could be the day. Grady Sizemore hasn't seen game action in about 10 months, but reportedly he has a real shot to play Sunday. Obviously huge news for the Tribe. (Cleveland.com )

KEEPING DICE-K: There's been a lot of talk about the Red Sox trading Daisuke Matsuzaka of late. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe makes a good case to fans that Dice-K is actually a pretty average major-league pitcher and that, as the fifth starter, that's really all the team needs. Put the absurd salary aside and just enjoy the good Red Sox team, he pleads. I tend to agree. (Boston Globe )

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:08 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 9:18 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/10: Slam edition

By Matt Snyder

Hitting a grand slam is pretty cool. It's really a home run where you happened to come up to bat with the bases jacked, but, then again, batting with a runner on all three bases is a whole different animal than hitting with no one on. How about doing it two days in a row?

3 UP

Alex Liddi, Mariners. Yep, Liddi hit a granny Wednesday and followed suit Thursday. The 22-year-old third baseman has only had 11 at-bats in the spring, so he's hitting a grand slam every 5.5 at-bats. That's a pretty decent pace. Maybe pull a George Costanza and leave 'em wanting more? Just sit the rest of the spring!

Randy Wells, Cubs. Considering the pretty solid job Carlos Silva is doing imploding and the fact that the Cubs are looking to fill two spots, Wells is probably safe. He threw four shutout innings Thursday, running his spring scoreless streak -- well, counting only earned runs -- to nine. He's struck out six and only allowed eight baserunners. Also notable in this game was Andrew Cashner closed the game with four strong innings, allowing just one run (a solo homer). These two look the part as the final two members of the rotation -- but Wells is a much more sure thing.

Mike Moustakas, Royals. One of the Royals' (many) prized prospects was struggling in the spring, coming in with just three hits in 17 at-bats. Thursday, however, he collected a pair of hits in two at-bats, including a game-winning 2-RBI single in the eighth.

3 DOWN

Brad Bergesen, Orioles. According to Twitter nation, the first thing Bergesen said to reporters was, "I sucked. Any other questions?" Well, not really. We will pass along the line to those who didn't get a chance to see it: 2 2/3 innings, six hits, three earned runs, two walks. He was slated to work four innings, but couldn't make it. (via Roch Kubatko Twitter )

Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals. It was his first start of the spring, so some rust could be forgiven -- even if getting knocked around the yard by the Astros is what we're forgiving him for. The line: 2 1/3 innings, five hits, three runs (two earned), three walks and a strikeout.

Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers. The strapping closer had a disaster of an outing, getting only one out while allowing three hits, four runs, a walk, a home run and a hit batsman. He took the loss. Of course, it was only one game. In fact, all three of these pitchers here should remember that. Pitchers should always have a short memory, but especially in the spring.

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 4:21 pm
 

No fight this time, but Silva shelled again

By Matt Snyder

Rarely are spring outings on March 7 make or break types, but Carlos Silva desperately needed a good outing Monday. He was coming off a disaster, when he gave up six runs in one inning and sparred in the dugout with Aramis Ramirez.

He didn't fight with any teammates, but the outing was nearly as disappointing. And that's putting it lightly.

To not put it lightly: Silva was abysmal. I'm going to post the line below, but I'll warn you, it's not for the faint of heart -- reader discretion is advised.

In 2 1/3 innings, Silva gave up 10 hits and eight earned runs. He also hit a batter. Even worse, Silva actually got through the first two innings unscatched, but was obliterating in the third by the Angels. He coughed up eight earned runs by getting only one out.

What this means is that Silva is definitely fighting an uphill battle for the Cubs' rotation. Behind Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza, there are a bevy of players vying for the last two slots. For now, the front-runners appear to be Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner. Wells has been in the rotation the past two seasons. Cashner, 24, was the Cubs' first-round pick in 2008 and worked out of the bullpen last season.

Silva is due $11.5 million this season, but the Cubs actually took on the contract to get rid of Milton Bradley's deal, so the money won't factor into any decisions. He has a major uphill battle to break camp as a starter.

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Posted on: February 15, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 6:06 pm
 

Silva confident in rotation spot

Carlos Silva
Well, there's one thing off Mike Quade's plate this spring. Carlos Silva has decided he's in the Cubs rotation.

"Yesterday, someone asked me, 'Are the fourth and fifth spots still open?'" Silva told reporters Tuesday. "For them, it's open. For whoever is competing, it's open. For me, there's only one spot open because I am one of the starters. They think like that, not me."

Silva can be commended for using the power of positive thinking, but it's not quite that simple. Behind the set trio of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Carlos Zambrano, there is a lot that could happen. Silva is in a mix with Randy Wells, Jeff Zamardzija, Casey Coleman and Andrew Cashner.

Silva, brought in last winter from Seattle in an exchange of bad contracts that sent out Milton Bradley, stunned everyone with a big start, going 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA in the first half of the season. The second half was derailed by a heart issue and an elbow problem.

Quade said nobody has earned anything yet, including Silva.

"His experience speaks for itself and his start last year was fantastic," Quade told MLB.com, "but there are a few guarantees in this game and I'm not sure the back end of this rotation has got anybody guaranteed anything. He does have the experience. I expect him to be a prominent consideration. We'll see."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: January 12, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Cubs looking to fill rotation from within

James Russell Left-hander James Russell will compete for a spot in the Cubs' starting rotation, manager Mike Quade told the Chicago Tribune 's Paul Sullivan .

Russell was 1-1 with a 4.96 ERA in 57 appearances out of the bullpen for the Cubs as a rookie in 2010. He struck out 42 in 49 innings, while walking 11 and allowing 55 hits. He gave up 11 home runs, two for every nine innings pitched.

"I don't get too worked up early on, because, bang, all of a sudden you blink and things change," Quade said. "All of a sudden you've got two additions [in Matt Garza and Kerry Wood] who have specific roles and have earned them, and now it puts the kids and a lot of the other people in flux. The idea that you can never have enough pitching is huge. We'll see how the back end looks as it shakes out."

Garza, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are already pencilled in for the team's rotation, with Russell, Carlos Silva, Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, Tom Gorzelanny and Jeff Samardzija battling for the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:57 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Cubs talking trades for starters

The Cubs are looking for pitching -- not only talking to the Rays about Matt Garza, but also talking about swapping left-handed starter Tom Gorzelanny for right-handed starter Armando Galarraga, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat writes .

The Cubs have Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Randy Wells at the top of their rotation. The team still has Carlos Silva under control, but his status remains murky, leaving a competition between Gorzelanny, Casey Coleman and Jeff Samardzija for the last two spots of the rotation.

The team has reportedly talked to representatives for Brandon Webb and Jeff Francis, as well.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 18, 2010 5:54 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Cubs' 2011 rotation up in air

Carlos Silva The Cubs expect to enter 2011 with Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster atop the rotation, but past that is anyone's guess.

Current starters Carlos Silva (pictured), Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny stand a good chance of locking up the final three spots but will receive competition from Jeff Samardzija, Casey Coleman, Andrew Cashner and Chris Archer, reports the Chicago Tribune .

Silva will be entering the final year of a contract that pays out $6 million from the Cubs coffers (and $5.5 million from Seattle) and pitched impressively before being sidelined with heart problems. In 21 starts, Silva has a 4.22 ERA and should have no trouble locking down a spot.

Wells followed up an impressive rookie season with a less-impressive but still solid 4.46 ERA over 30 starts as a 27-year-old. Wells has pitched better than his ERA, so should also find the going easy to retain his rotation spot.

When it comes to Gorzelanny, things are less simple. The lefty has a 3.90 ERA in 21 starts and six relief appearances, but questions remain if his future is in the rotation or bullpen.

It's possible one of the assorted candidates could overtake Gorzelanny.

Samardzija is out of options for 2011 so will need to stick on the big-league team. He split the season between starting and relieving in Triple-A and is struggling to find his footing in the majors. It's not likely Chicago will hand him a rotation spot, so look for the former Fighting Irish wide receiver to kick the season off in the bullpen.

Coleman, at 22, probably is ticketed for the Triple-A rotation. He posted a 4.07 ERA in 117 1/3 innings over 20 starts at the level in 2010 and has a 5.11 mark through 37 innings. He demonstrates zero aptitude for whiffing batters and doesn't have strong command.

Archer was the organization's minor league player of the year, splitting the year between advanced-Class A and Double-A as a starter. He totaled a 2.34 mark in 27 starts and one relief appearances, striking out 149 and walking 65 in 142 1/3 innings. The 21-year-old has electric stuff and could make a big case in spring training but it's hard to imagine the Cubs rushing him to the bigs.

That leaves Cashner, who is unsure of his future role with the Cubs. The 23-year-old earned a promotion to the majors by being near-unhittable in the minors early on. He has a 5.37 mark in the bigs over 47 relief appearances and has shown the stuff to be a top-tier setupman.

"I don't know if I'll be getting ready as a starter or a reliever," he told the Tribune . "And I don't care. Pitching is pitching, As long as I get to do a little hunting this winter, I'm happy."

The Cubs could elect to move Cashner back to the rotation and evaluate him in spring training. That's completely fine with the righty.

"I said three weeks ago I have six weeks to make the team, and that's what I'm going to do," the 2008 first-rounder said. "Showcase that I can pitch here and worry about next year during spring training ."

It's more likely you see the current starting five open 2011 still in the rotation, but the stable of young pitching on the way up means things may be changing in the next few years. Silva and Dempster's deals are done after 2011 while Zambrano follows the year after.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 4, 2010 12:38 pm
 

Zambrano back in Cubs' rotation

Carlos Zambrano Well, Carlos Zambrano's exile to the Cubs' bullpen didn't last long.

Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports via Twitter that the Cubs have announced that Zambrano will start Monday in San Francisco, his first start since his June 25 blowup with teammates that got him suspended. Manager Lou Piniella said Zambrano would be banished to the bullpen when he returned, and he has pitched in relief twice since coming back.

But the Cubs are in need of two starters right now, having traded away Ted Lilly and with Carlos Silva on the disabled list for a cardiac evaluation. Chicago has Ryan Dempster going Wednesday, Tom Gorzelanny on Friday after an off day, and Randy Wells on Saturday.

Zambrano hasn't found much success as a starter this season. He's 3-5 with a 6.12 ERA with batters putting up an .844 OPS against him. But the Cubs are desperate and have an experienced starter sitting in their bullpen, so Zambrano will get his chance.

The Giants currently line up to have Madison Bumgarner starting opposite Zambrano on Monday.

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com