Cubs manager Dale Sveum conceded there are only a few roster spots available this spring, which is unusual for a team coming off a 101-loss season

Sveum mentioned two bullpen spots, a couple of bench spots and third base, where Ian Stewart has a non-guaranteed contract.

Former White Sox infielder Brent Lillibridge, in camp on a minor league deal, is the odds-on favorite to win one bench spot because he can play center field, back up Starlin Castro at shortstop and Anthony Rizzo at first base.

"Unless I stand on the base I'm quite small over there at first," said Lillibridge, who's listed at 5 foot 11. "I just want a bat in my hands."

Sveum suggested Lillibridge is the kind of versatile player he wants.

"That gives you a huge edge in the National League," Sveum said. "Especially when our center fielder (David DeJesus) and right fielder (Nate Schierholtz) are left-handed (hitters). He can play first, runs very well and has some sock in the bat for someone who looks like he's 150 pounds soaking wet."

Lillibridge loved playing on the South Side and said he already is looking to rent a place outside Chicago.

"I told Dale when I talked to him I wasn't afraid to compete and I knew that my skills and what I could do on a baseball field would be valuable to the Cubs, and I was excited to showcase it for the whole season," he said.

Sveum also mentioned Welington Castillo, Dioner Navarro and Stewart as possible back-up first basemen, though Rizzo rarely will be out of the starting lineup.