Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs: Brian Duensing may be running out of time

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Sep 6, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Brian Duensing (50) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 6, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Brian Duensing (50) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs finalized their Opening Day roster today. Surprisingly, one member of the bullpen will start on the disabled list with back issues.

Back in December, the Chicago Cubs signed lefty Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal. As the Cubs looked to re-work their bullpen, Duensing is a veteran lefty who adds depth. His numbers don’t pop out at you, though.

In 2016 with the Orioles, Duensing only pitched 13 innings after missing some time with a strange injury. In those 13 innings, Duensing allowed six earned runs, two homers and 13 hits.

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Going back to his last full season in 2015, Duensing was 4-1 with a 4.25 ERA in 55 appearances. His career 4.13 ERA tells you that he’s a serviceable pitcher but one that could bounce around.

An adequate spring

Duensing did okay during spring training, pitching 9 2/3 innings and allowing five runs on twelve hits. This amounted to a 4.66 ERA.

I also felt that Duensing was a guy that the Cubs signed as depth, but would have no problem releasing if another lefty emerged in the bullpen. The Cubs do have Rob Zastryzny, who impressed with the Cubs late last season. He did not have a good spring, but spring results don’t always mean much.

As Jake pointed out, the Cubs could be just kicking the can down the road on the LaStella/Szczur situation. I feel that this could lead to a bigger move down the road. Duensing pitched two scoreless innings a few days ago and mysteriously has back issues that will land him on the DL.

Duensing could only miss a few games with all the off days early on, plus backdating his DL stint. Something tells me he will miss more than that, though.

It’s hard to say what the Cubs plan for Duensing is but I personally wasn’t super impressed with the signing. I would have rather have Travis Wood back in the Cubs bullpen. The Cubs also have additional options for the bullpen, so the seventh or eighth bullpen spot could be a revolving door throughout the season.

Next: Cubs Lester-Contreras appear locked in

We do know that the Cubs will use seven guys in the bullpen and Duensing will start on the DL.  Montgomery is the only lefty in the bullpen so expect a move to add another lefty pretty quickly.

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