2/20 Cubs notebook

Most of the Cubs pitchers got their work in on the fields Sunday despite a cold rain. Reed Johnson realized too late he should’ve been wearing his elbow pad during live BP. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol clipped Johnson with a pitch on the left elbow. Johnson’s elbow guard was in his locker after the session.

“It’s a couple hours too late,” Johnson said. “I have to callous that elbow for the season. Marmol was doing me a favor.”

* The first Cactus League game is Feb. 27, and Quade and pitching coach Mark Riggins were finalizing the spring rotation. Expect an announcement Monday or Tuesday on who will start against the Athletics in one week.

* Sunday was significant for John Grabow because it was the first time the left-hander faced hitters since June 28. That was his last game of 2010 before being sidelined with a torn MCL in his left knee. He will wear a knee brace for the entire season.

“Now, I’m used to it and I don’t even know it’s there any more,” he said. “Can I pitch without it? I’m not going to take that chance.”

* James Russell will get stretched out this spring as the Cubs try to decide if the left-hander can fill a slot in the rotation. If not, the next decision will be whether he’s better off starting in the Minor Leagues or in the bullpen with the big league team. That decision won’t be made until late March.

* Quade carries a fungo bat with him nearly everywhere he goes. “It’s like my security blanket,” he said. “It used to be a tool. Now, you get kicked upstairs and now it just helps me get around.”

– Carrie Muskat

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