Chicago Cubs News: Javier Assad to the bullpen, roster moves, and more

Mar 3, 2023; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Javier Assad against the San Diego Padres
Mar 3, 2023; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Javier Assad against the San Diego Padres / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs are in the process of finalizing their 26-man roster ahead of Opening Day on Thursday and the team announced several roster moves on Monday.

Among the moves, Cubs' manager David Ross told reporters that Javier Assad will begin the season in the bullpen for the Major League team.

Assad began Spring Training in the mix to be the fifth man in the Cubs' starting rotation but it was a competition that Hayden Wesneski ran way with after being nearly flawless during his outings this Spring. Assad has been excellent in his own right during Spring Training with the Cubs and was among the standouts with Team Mexico during the World Baseball Classic.

Brandon Hughes is dealing with a knee injury so there has been some questions of late in regard to whether or not he may have to begin the season on the injured list. If all goes well during his bullpen session on Monday, that could clear the way for him being ready for Opening Day.

While Seiya Suzuki likely will not be ready for Opening Day, the fact that he player defense in a Minors game on Sunday is another indicator that he may only miss a week of games to begin the season. Suzuki's recovery is turning into a best-case scenario for the Cubs and likely was the pre-cursor for other roster move that the team made on Monday.

At one point, there was an expectation that Mike Tauchman would make the Cubs' Opening Day roster as the team allowed Suzuki the time to recover. With a backdated IL-stint likely being the roster move for Suzuki on Opening Day, there was little value for the Cubs to add Tauchman to the 40-man roster.

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Tauchman being reassigned to minor league camp likely means one of Miles Mastrobuoni or Christopher Morel will make the Opening Day roster as the team's fourth outfielder. The educated guess likely will point toward Mastrobuoni as the Cubs may prefer Morel get regular plate appearances with Triple-A Iowa.