3/21 Berg waits for official go-ahead

Justin Berg hasn’t been officially told he’s made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster but he did hear that Lou Piniella said the right-hander was in. Berg says he probably won’t know until he’s on the plane to Atlanta for the season opener.

“I’m just going to keep competing, keep going out there and pitching,” Berg said. “I’m going to find a way to help the team win.”

Berg was in the big league camp last spring but this year has been different.

“I’m a little more comfortable coming in this year, having a little bit of experience,” he said. “Last year, coming up at the end of the season in September, facing the competition and knowing a lot of the guys now makes it more relaxed so I can just focus on pitching.”

Is the difference mental? Physical?

“It’s a little of everything,” Berg said.

He was called up last September and apperaed in 11 games. He gave up 10 hits and one run over 12 innings. That was it.

“It definitely helps having that experience,” the 25-year-old pitcher said. “If I stay here [with the big league team], I’m going to try to keep moving forward and keep pitching the way I have been.”

Berg was named co-winner of the first Cubs Idol competition on Saturday. His locker just happens to be next to Darwin Barney, who shared the top honors. The two talked music as the competition progressed. Berg can play guitar and drums, Barney the piano. They were competitive in the Idol showdown.

“We didn’t give each other too much information,” Berg said.

With the addition of Berg, the Cubs now have Carlos Marmol, John Grabow and Esmailin Caridad committed to the ‘pen. Berg was a starter in the Minor Leagues until last season when he pitched exclusively as a reliever at Triple-A Iowa. He’s gotten used to being in the bullpen.

“Whether I go one, two, a few innings, whatever, I’ll do it,” Berg said.

— Carrie Muskat

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