3/22 Pitching notes

* Looking ahead, pitching-wise, Jeff Samardzija will make his final spring start on Wednesday against the jet-lagged Diamondbacks in Scottsdale. Arizona has already opened the season with a game in Australia.

* Travis Wood will start the Cubs’ home opener on April 4.

“It’ll be exciting for sure, even though Pittsburgh is a great place to pitch,” said Wood, who had been expected to follow Jeff Samardzija in the rotation.

Isn’t Wrigley Field a good place?

“Wrigley’s fine,” Wood said, laughing. “It’ll be cold either place, so it’s not like the weather will be different. The place will be packed, it’ll be jumping, it’ll be nice.”

Rick Renteria said they made the decision because of matchups. Wood has made three starts against the Phillies, and held them to five runs on 13 hits over 21 1/3 innings.

* The Cubs are still trying to fill the fifth spot in the rotation. The candidates include Carlos Villanueva, Chris Rusin and Tsuyoshi Wada. Villanueva, a valuable swingman, will start Monday against the Padres, while Wada will start Tuesday against the Angels. Rusin, who threw five shutout innings on Friday against the White Sox, is a possibility, but the Cubs may pick Villanueva because of his versatility and the fact they have four off days in the first three weeks of games. If the other four starters stay on a five-day rotation, Villanueva could slide into the bullpen until needed.

Renteria didn’t tip his hand on Saturday when asked about the fifth spot.

“They’re all still in the mix,” he said. “They’re all going out there and doing a nice job.”

* The Cubs had projected Jake Arrieta as the fifth starter but he’s been slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder. On Sunday, Arrieta was scheduled to throw a bullpen.

“I’m hoping the next step is a game,” he said Saturday. “We’ll talk things over and see where we stand.”

* Cubs fans will get a chance to see two of the top pitching prospects on Tuesday when C.J. Edwards and Eric Jokisch pitch against the Padres. Edwards, 22, was a combined 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA in 24 games with Class A Hickory and Daytona last season. The Cubs acquired him in the Matt Garza deal. Jokisch, 24, was 11-13 with a 3.42 ERA at Double-A Tennessee in 2013.

— Carrie Muskat


If ST numbers mean nothing….then Sweeney will sure appreciate that…..batting .083….

If Roger Bernadina was not in the lineup today, then I would say Edwin Jackson had a good outing today……….

Rizzo having a great Spring………Local Milk Cartons has Starlin Castro’s face on them now………..

List of Cubs trade candidates who might be on the move this season……

E Jackson

Ya let’s trade everyone that’ll help…. Or wait maybe ill list every player on the team so I can look back when a trade happens and say I told u so

Why trade veras? Makes no sense to trade of our better bullpen pitchers when we just supposedly fixed our bullpen from the woes we had last year …. Great idea!!!! Not

If you think Veras is our future Closer, you need to seek some therapy……. If there is a future Cubs Closer, it is Vizcaino……….please, go back to your buddies who know nothing about baseball at Cubs Den……….the guys who I listed above are at the end of their contracts, short term players…..btw, I forgot to add Hammel to that trade list……….Theo is going down the same path on what he did with Maholm, Feldman and others……….Flipping players for future long term under contract prospects…..there is not one Cub I mention who can help us in the future.

Could be Veras gets traded upon Fujikawa’s return.

Pretty sure Veras has already been named the closer there all knowing… I don’t go in cubs den so won’t even go there… Have fun googling and restating everything on here ….. All u do is list a bunch of names and hope something happens then toot ur horn when a trade actually happens… Here’s my prediction… We actually become a buyer of ready talent this year … I don’t think the guys u listed are great or big pieces in our future but not 50% of those will be traded… That’s just way too big a number and ur ignorant if u think they all are gone in a trade

Aloha CubsTalk- As we have discussed before, Samardzija seems like a sure trade, especially how his contract went down for this year. Well, after today I was thinking E Jackson too. I know they have a lot of money wrapped up with him but gosh, a few weeks away from the start of the season and he just seemed out of sorts. The amount of hits and earned runs he gave up in only 5innings, did not help to give the offense a chance even though Rizzo came up with big hits and Barney did well in the lead-off position being patient, he got 2 BB’s but also scored 2 runs. You know the “mantra,” pitching wins games and as I have referenced before: The SF Giants 2010 & 2012 staff. Not the most powerful offense those years but they were able to play small ball and the pitching was outstanding. Today when I was listing on the mlb wgn radio, Pat Hughes brought up the Giants staff and how they only added Tim Hudson in the off-season but how the core of the staff has been together not for sometime and barring any injuries could be quite a rotation this year. I so look forward to that for our Cubbies.

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The Snakes played two games in Sydney, and lost both.

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