Cubs: Three candidates to grab the final spot in the starting rotation

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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Shelby Miller / Chicago Cubs
Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

Cubs: Will a new pitch help Shelby Miller re-establish himself?

Once an overpowering presence, now-30-year-old right-hander Shelby Miller is re-inventing himself this spring, adding a slider to his arsenal for the first time.

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So far, so good. While it’s far from a finished pitch, the addition of another weapon has helped the former All-Star get off to a solid start this spring. In seven innings of work, spanning three relief appearances and one start, Miller has allowed just one earned run while striking out eight and walking only two.

"“Opposing hitters have to respect a whole other pitch that they haven’t seen,” Miller said. “I’ve just got to keep throwing it, and hopefully it gets better. And I’m just going to go out there and get outs. That’s all I can say really.”"

Right now, I think Miller is leading the race for the final spot in the rotation. He’s pitched better than both Mills and Alzolay this spring and if Alzolay winds up having a minor league option left, the Cubs could face a much easier decision, utilizing Mills as the long man in the pen and letting Miller get a chance in the rotation.

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But a lot can – and likely will – happen between now and April 1, when the Cubs will take on the Pirates on Opening Day at Wrigley Field. There are a lot of ways this could all play out and we’ll have to see how things shake out.