Final Pitching Spot Up for Grabs

One of the final pitching spots on the Cubs roster could be nabbed by a player who proves to be the best long-relief candidate.

The long man is usually not the most desirable spot on a roster, but Cubs skipper Dusty Baker thinks there will be some candidates.

"In my book, long man is being better than no man," Baker said. "You want to be on a team -- especially a team that has a chance to win. You want to be on the team regardless of what your so-called role is."

Todd Wellemeyer, who is out of options, could be a leading candidate even though he is struggling in camp in the hitter-friendly environment of Arizona.

Baker said that Michael Wuertz and Roberto Novoa, both setup man in 2005, are also candidates. With left-hander Scott Eyre and right-hander Bobby Howry on the roster, players like Wuertz, Novoa and Will Ohman will have their roles shifted around.

If the Cubs go with a four-man rotation in the first two weeks of the season, it's possible starter Jerome Williams could open the season as a long man in the 'pen.


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