Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Latest on the Cubs Rotation

James Russell has struggled every time he has received the ball as the Cubs fifth starter. He has been given enough opportunities (4) to prove he can start, but it is clear that he is better suited for the pen. His ERA for the season is 7.85 and his record stats at 1-2.

That being said, the Cubs are in an interesting position. Next Saturday is the next time that they will need the fifth starter. The two injured pitchers, Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells, are making progress but neither will be ready next week. The Cubs options are dwindling.

According to a tweet from Carrie Muskat, former Cardinals right hander Todd Wellemyer, who was pitching in the minors for the Cubs, has retired. He was given a minor league contract and a chance to start in spring training, but a hip injured hindered his progress. He pitched on 3.2 innings for Triple-A Iowa, allowing four runs on eight hits in his lone start last Thursday.

The Sun Times has reported that LHP Doug Davis will work for Iowa on Wednesday, ruling him out for Saturday's start. Davis worked 6.2 scoreless frames for for Class-A Daytona on Thursday.

Wells and Casher both threw on the side yesterday. They will toss live BP at HoHoKam Park in Arizona sometime in the next week.

Ramon Ortiz, signed in April to potential help bolster the rotation at some point, is 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA in five games for the I-Cubs. He could be the prime candidate for Saturday's start against the Giants if the Cubs go with someone other than Russell. The top pitching prospect at Triple-A is Jay Jackson, who could be called up for his big league debut. Cubs relievers Jeff Samardzija and Marcos Mateo are in the mix, but it is unlikely that the team will decide to go in that direction.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted.

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