Drew Smyly's role on the Chicago Cubs Opening Day roster revealed

Drew Smyly may be used in multiple roles during the season.

Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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The pitching staff is starting to come into focus for Chicago Cubs manager Craig Counsell.

Counsell is still getting to know each pitcher but stressed that he would focus on building the staff around pitchers who can get outs.

The Cubs' pitching staff has already been hit with the injury bug as Caleb Kilian is expected to miss most of the first half of the 2024 season while Jameson Taillon likely will be sidelined most of the first month due to a lingering back issue.

Taillon's injury likely will result in Counsell needing to tweak the starting rotation that the Cubs have at the start of the season. With Justin Steele, Kyle Hendricks, and Shota Imanaga as the three locks in the rotation, the team will need to round out the final two spots.

Veteran starting pitcher Drew Smyly was believed to be among the pitchers competing for one of those two spots. The group includes Smyly, Javier Assad, Hayden Wesneski, and Ben Brown. For Smyly, however, it seems he may open the season in the bullpen.

As Sahadev Sharma wraps up his coverage of Cubs' Spring Training for The Athletic (Subscription Required), one of his takeaways is that Smyly will open the season in the bullpen, though he may have a start or two as Counsell looks to utilize a six-man rotation through certain parts of the season.

A return to the Chicago Cubs starting rotation may not be the plan for Drew Smyly.

After his struggles in the starting rotation to start the 2023 season, Smyly was moved to the bullpen during the second half. Smyly found success out of the bullpen by posting a 2.51 ERA in 28.2 innings of relief.

With the Cubs lacking established left-handed relief pitchers at the Major League level, having Smyly in the bullpen may be the ideal situation for early-season matchups.

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