3/20 Down to the wire
Justin Berg not only won the Cubs Idol competition on Saturday but also appears to have locked up a spot in the bullpen. Lou Piniella said there are four pitchers competing for one spot and that group includes John Gaub, James Russell, Marcus Mateo and Mike Parisi. When asked about Berg, Piniella said: “Berg is in. Berg has done a nice job.”
That means the ‘pen now consists of closer Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Esmailin Caridad, Berg, and two of the four pitchers who don’t make the rotation. That list includes Carlos Silva, Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.
“I like the arms we have and I like the mix we have,” Piniella said.
Piniella said they have an idea as to which way they’re leaning but won’t announce anything yet. The staff will sit down after Monday’s game to discuss the roster.
As for the bench, that’s still to be decided. Andres Blanco has been out with an injury, which hasn’t helped his chances. “I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen there,” Piniella said.
They’d like to keep an outfielder who can play all three spots, especially because Xavier Nady is limited. And they like both Chad Tracy and Kevin Millar.
“There’s a lot to say about a veteran’s contribution and leadership from your bench players,” Piniella said. “There’s some nice subtle important decisions to make here over the next four, five days.”
— Carrie Muskat