Deadlines

The countdown is on. Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Friday he expects to name the closer, backup catcher, and fifth starter in one week.

“I would think by next weekend, we’ll have everybody in place,” Piniella said. “There’s no sense in delaying this through the end of March.”

Lefty Sean Marshall has the edge in the fifth starter competition, while Carlos Marmol is back in camp and was scheduled to pitch Saturday as he challenges Kevin Gregg for the closer’s job. As for the backup catcher, Piniella definitely has some ideas regarding Paul Bako, Koyie Hill and Mark Johnson. Asked if it was a wide open race, he said: “It’s not as wide open as the mouth of the Amazon.”

You figure it out.

– Carrie Muskat

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