Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Posted: 11:04 a.m. Updated: 7:48 p.m.
By Patrick Mooney
MESA, Ariz. The Cubs delayed the major decisions on their bullpen and rotation for another day, but their roster continues to come into focus.
Relievers Scott Maine and Justin Berg were optioned to Triple-A Iowa, while pitchers Todd Wellemeyer and Angel Guzman were assigned to minor-league camp. Another round of cuts on Wednesday sliced the overall number to 36 players.
By subtracting Maine a 26-year-old they think has a very bright future the Cubs will likely go with three other left-handers in their bullpen: Sean Marshall, John Grabow and James Russell.
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Manager Mike Quade wouldnt go quite that far just yet, only calling it a valid possibility thats prominent in my mind.
Maine made his major-league debut late last season and posted a 2.08 ERA in 13 relief appearances. But the left-hander struggled with the feel for his slider in Arizona and gave up five runs in six innings.
Im not going to do down there and bash them, Maine said. They told me that if I keep performing (like I did) last year and get better, then they dont see a reason why Im not up there again.
Wellemeyer has been dealing with a hip injury and hasnt pitched in a Cactus League game since March 12. It has been a string of bad luck for the 32-year-old non-roster invitee.
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Wellemeyers essentially pitched six innings since straining his quadriceps last June. That contributed to his release from the San Francisco Giants and missing out on the World Series experience. He plans to discuss his future with his agent, Barry Meister.
Very disappointing, Wellemeyer said. I didnt really get a single inning live during a game where I felt like there wasnt a stabbing pain on my hip. I wish I could have gone out there and been healthy, but it is what it is.
Guzman is the guy everyone in camp is rooting for. A series of injuries have derailed his once promising career, but he remains relentlessly upbeat and always has a smile on his face. Thats why the front office wouldnt hesitate to hire him as soon as hes done playing.
Exactly one year ago (March 23), Dr. James Andrews performed arthroscopic surgery on Guzmans right shoulder. As a non-roster player, he already packed up and moved out of the major-league clubhouse over the weekend. Hes scheduled to throw in a minor-league game next week, which would be another remarkable step in his journey.
Ernie Banks will be honored by Major League Baseball in May alongside actor Morgan Freeman and musician Carlos Santana as part of the Civil Rights Game in Atlanta. Carlos Zambrano threw 82 pitches across four innings on Wednesday in a minor-league game. Catcher Max Ramirez (wrist) was scheduled for an MRI. Up next: vs. White Sox at HoHoKam Park, Matt Garza vs. Phil Humber, 4:05 p.m., CSN.
PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.