Cubs News: Hayden Wesneski pulling away from the pack in rotation battle

Seattle Mariners v Chicago Cubs
Seattle Mariners v Chicago Cubs / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

With four perfect innings added to his tally following his latest Cactus League start, Cubs right-hander Hayden Wesneski is looking more and more like a clear-cut front runner in the battle for the final spot in the rotation.

His spring total is up to 8 2/3 scoreless innings - a stark contrast to the work turned in by fellow rotation hopeful Adrian Sampson. The third man in the mix, Javier Assad, looked sharp pitching for Team Mexico in the WBC and worked through four scoreless frames with the Cubs in Arizona prior to joining his countrymen.

Cubs manager David Ross has definitely taken note of Wesneski's work in his first big league camp - offering high praise for the right-hander over the weekend.

"He's definitely got that 'it' factor. It doesn't feel like things speed up on him at times. And he's got some grit to him. "

David Ross, via

Cubs looking to Hayden Wesneski as a piece to the future

I've been hoping for Wesneski to seize this opportunity and break camp in the big league rotation for a month now and it's been exciting to see him make the most of his chances to this point. After years of patching together a starting rotation via free agency and trades, the possibility of handling 40 percent of the starting five with two young, controllable arms in Wesneski and Justin Steele is the stuff of dreams.

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Right now, it appears as if Wesneski and Assad are the two lead horses in this competition. This could go right down to the wire - with a final decision possible the last week of spring training. But, for his part, Wesneski is doing everything in his power to open the year as the final piece of the Cubs rotation puzzle.