2/27 Saturday sked & the bench

Rain is in Saturday’s forecast but there should be enough time for the Cubs pitchers to get their work in. Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Carlos Silva, Randy Wells and Carlos Marmol all are scheduled to throw live BP at Fitch Park.

Expect Zambrano to stick to pitching this year and not be used as a pinch-hitter.

“We’re deeper here in camp than we were last year with more position players,” Lou Piniella said. “I don’t foresee the need for Zambrano to pinch-hit. This is why we want to move people around early to see what we’re going to leave with.

“There are two jobs open on our bench,” Piniella said. “Our regular team will take care of itself, assuming we stay healthy. On the bench, we’ve got decisions on two positions. [Koyie] Hill will be our backup catcher. We’ve got [Xavier] Nady, and whoever doesn’t play second base [between Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot]. There’s two spots to play around with a little.”

Fontenot took grounders at shortstop on Friday with Ryan Theriot. The Cubs want to see if he can handle that position as well as second.

Last season, Piniella used Big Z out of necessity at the plate.

“[The fans] enjoy watching him [hit] and I understand that,” Piniella said. “Using Carlos is only in an emergency or a pinch.”

— Carrie Muskat

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