2/14 Baker needs time; Feldman set

Here’s an update on the Cubs rotation: Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, most likely will not be ready by Opening Day, and Scott Feldman will start and won’t need to multi-task as he did with the Rangers. With Feldman securing a spot and Baker not being ready by April 1, that leaves one vacancy in the rotation. Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson are set and Matt Garza appears healthy after missing more than two months last year because of an elbow problem.

“There’s an above average chance Baker is going to probably start a little bit late just because you don’t want to rush him,” Dale Sveum said Thursday. “There’s no need for that. You have Garza, Samardzija, Jackson, Feldman and the other spot, and you never know — there’s no guarantees of any spots besides the top three. We’ll let it all pan out and see what happens.”

But asked about whether Feldman, who has pitched in relief and started for the Rangers, would be considered for the ‘pen, Sveum said, “Feldman’s a starter. He’s going to be one of the starters.”

Feldman was happy to hear that.

“That was one of the main reasons I wanted to come here was to get the opportunity,” Feldman said when told the news. “I’m not going to take anything for granted and I’ll keep working hard and try to improve all spring and carry that into the season.”

The right-hander was 5-11 with a 5.48 ERA in 21 starts with the Rangers and 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in eight games in relief.

Carlos Villanueva will likely be used in relief, Sveum said. That would give lefty Travis Wood an edge for the last rotation spot.

“There’s competition and we have a lot of time to see them and see what’s going on,” Sveum said.

The Cubs were expected to finalize the rotation by March 20 or March 25, Sveum said.

– Carrie Muskat

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