This was the spring-training postcard to send back to Cubs fans: Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson and Matt Garza throwing off the mounds at the same time.
The scouts in town for the organizational meetings lined up behind the fence to watch The Big Three. The audience at Fitch Park on Wednesday included manager Dale Sveum, pitching coach Chris Bosio and Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, who made starting pitching their No. 1 priority this winter. Cameras recorded every pitch.
The rotation is full of moving parts, but Sveum sees Scott Feldman as the No. 4 starter to begin the season, and doesn’t expect Scott Baker to be ready by Opening Day as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
“Feldman’s going to be one of the starters,” Sveum said Thursday. “There’s an above-average chance Baker’s going to probably start a little bit late, just because you don’t want to really rush him. There’s no need for anything like that.”
Sveum also added “there’s no guarantees” beyond Samardzija, Jackson and Garza, who was shut down last season with a stress reaction in his right elbow and has to be considered a question mark.
Baker didn’t throw a pitch for the Minnesota Twins last season, so the Cubs could start him on the disabled list in April and ease him into the rotation.
Travis Wood is the only left-handed option for the rotation, which could give him an advantage. Carlos Villanueva – who was told he’d have opportunities to start over the course of his two-year, $10 million contract – could be ticketed for the bullpen because of his solid track record as a reliever.
After Big Three, Cubs penciling Feldman in rotation, waiting on Baker
CSN Chicago | Feb 15