Wells heads the rotation going into Cactus League Play


While Carlos Zambrano maybe the opening day starter for the Cubs when they play the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 5th, Randy Wells is the pitcher to get the nod to open cactus league play when the Cubs host the Oakland Athletics this thursday.

Sean Marshall will follow Wells in the game, but that does not mean that Marshall won’t be starting during cactus league play. It is likely that Sean Marshall or Tom Gorzelanny will fill one of the two open spots in the Cubs rotation, as Lou Piniella would like to have a lefty in the rotation while Lilly is out.

After Wells and Marshall, J.R. Mathes, Rule V pick Mike Parisi, and Esmailin Caridad all figure to get some time on the mound during Thursdays game.

Other Notes from Camp…

Angel Guzman began throwing the ball again, today he threw about 25-30 pitches from 45 feet away, and is scheduled to throw from the mound tomorrow. Guzman says that his shoulder is feeling much better, and felt good about his workout today.

Despite recent suggestions from mainstream media outlets, the Sun Times is reporting that adding a veteran reliever is not a high priority for the Cubs, or at least for the time being. The Cubs are still in the process of evaluating the young arms they have in camp, and have been impressed so far by Esmailin Caridad.

Lou Piniella talked about what he expects from Alfonso Soriano this year…

"“We’d like to see his power numbers go up and his RBI production go up,” Piniella said of Soriano. “That’s what we’re looking for from Alfonso. I think he hit 20 [homers] and drove in 50 some [runs] last year. We’ve got to get that 20 into the 30s and those 50s into the 80s. Those would be a nice goal for him. Batting average is not as important as the RBI and home run production.”MUSKAT RAMBLINGS"

Those expectation are really reasonable for Lou Piniella to expect. Like Lou mentioned, he has good hitters batting in front of him in Lee, Ramirez, and Byrd and they should provide many RBI situations for Soriano. As far as the home run total goes, with Soriano being 100% healthy by opening day the home run totals for Soriano should revert back to his career averages, which is about 27-30 home runs a season.

With the Atlanta Braves announcing that right hander Derrek Lowe is going to be their opening day starter,  don’t be surprised if you see Mike Fontenot as the opening day second basemen for the Cubs as with him being left handed he provides the better matchup.