3/25 Gorzelanny: "I made major strides"

Will it be Tom Gorzelanny or Sean Marshall in the Cubs rotation? Who will Lou Piniella pick between Carlos Silva and Jeff Samardzija? A decision was expected Friday on the makeup of the pitching staff as the Cubs determine which two among the four — Gorzelanny, Marshall, Silva and Samardzija — will be in the rotation and which pair goes into the bullpen.

Gorzelanny made his final bid on Thursday against the D-Backs. He served up a leadoff homer to Conor Jackson on a 1-1 pitch in the first, then retired the next eight batters before Jackson hit a double with two outs in the third. “He had my number,” Gorzelanny said of Jackson.

Acquired last July from the Pirates, Gorzelanny went six innings, the longest outing this spring by a Cubs starter. He gave up two runs on five hits and one walk, striking out four.

“All I can ask for is to pitch well and I hope that’s the case,” Gorzelanny said. “Wherever they need me, I’ll do my best. If I get to be in the rotation, I’ll run with it and try to claim a spot and keep it — that’s my objective right now.”

He threw 73 pitches, and said he still needs to build up his pitch count. He’s still learning and is soaking up info from people like Greg Maddux, now an assistant with the Cubs, and pitchers like Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly. Thursday was very encouraging to Gorzelanny.

“I felt I was in the zone a lot and I wasn’t trying to overthrow and I wasn’t trying to do too much,” he said. “I felt I made some major strides today. There’s always more to do and more to work on.”

— Carrie Muskat

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