Roberto Novoa appears to be the odd man out in the bullpen after missing most of spring training with Valley Fever. Baker said the Cubs would rather take their time with Novoa instead of rushing him back. That probably leaves a seven-man bullpen of Ryan Dempster, Bob Howry, Scott Eyre, Scott Williamson, Will Ohman, Jerome Williams and Michael Wuertz, who has compiled a 14.73 ERA this spring.
Rich Hill was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday, while Michael Restovich was re-assigned to minor-league camp. That means infielder Ryan Theriot may have won the job as the 25th man, despite a .208 spring average. The Cubs remain interested in Oakland utilityman Freddy Bynum, who is out of options and won't make the A's final cut.
with hill moved to iowa and williams named the seventh man in the bullpen, it seems clear that marshall is the choice of baker and rothschild to be the cubs fourth starter on opening day. the daily southtown reports marshall as a lock to make the opening-day 25-man roster, with wuertz, a fever-free novoa and koronka battling for the eleventh spot. restovich was sent off as well, meaning ryan theriot becomes the fifth middle infielder on the club and likely pinch runner of choice. the southtown also carried this slip from carlos zambrano:
The Cubs have not announced their fourth and fifth men in the rotation, but Opening Day starter Carlos Zambrano may have let the cat out of the bag Wednesday when he said Marshall "has the pitches to be in the big leagues. His first test for him will be St. Louis. He would prove there if he can pitch in the big leagues."
it is no secret that this page considers putting an oft-injured pitcher unproven even at double-a west tenn in the permanent rotation of this club over a proven starter with a career 3.92 era to be the pinnacle of folly -- perhaps the single most rash and foolish strategic decision yet made by dusty baker's team. but it seems that there is little option now but to pray for the best and for marshall to defy the odds.
UPDATE: bruce miles of the daily herald is saying marshall is slotted to pitch sunday night, april 9, at wrigley -- national television against the cardinals -- just to be sure there's enough pressure to fracture the kid's soul for good. zambrano will go monday, april 3, and saturday, april 8. rusch is slotted from tuesday the 5th, maddux for friday the 7th.
UPDATE: novoa was optioned to iowa today, narrowing the battle for the last roster spot to wuertz and koronka.
UPDATE: koronka traded in a three way deal which brings freddie bynum to the north side. wuertz makes the club; theriot optioned to iowa.