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  3. article_body => "<p>Pencil in <a href=\"https:\/\/www.baseball-reference.com\/players\/b\/brothre01.shtml\">Rex Brothers<\/a> as the Cubs\u2019 second left-hander on the opening pitching staff.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>Cubs manager David Ross all but officially announced that the power-pitching veteran with the sizable command issues in recent years has earned one of the final spots in an eight- or nine-man bullpen after an exceptional performance so far this spring.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>\u201cI\u2019ve looked at Rex hard, and he\u2019s done nothing but prove that he belongs in the big leagues,\u201d Ross said Thursday \u2014 just one week from Opening Day. \u201cI\u2019ve thrown him to the wolves multiple games, and he\u2019s done nothing but answer the bell. The ball\u2019s coming out as good as I\u2019ve ever seen it. He\u2019s been consistent throwing strikes.\u201d<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>Brothers, 33, would be only the second lefty on a pitching staff that is projected to include at least 13 pitchers \u2014 including no lefties in the opening rotation for the first time since 2011.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>Reliever Andrew Chafin is the other lefty.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>Brothers, the former Rockies first-round draft pick, always has been a hard-throwing pitcher with swing-and-miss stuff (10+ strikeouts per nine innings in his career), and in 2013 he posted a 1.74 ERA with 19 saves in 40 appearances for the Rockies, playing his home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>But command has always been an issue, especially as he <a href=\"https:\/\/www.denverpost.com\/2016\/03\/12\/saunders-are-rockies-to-blame-for-rex-brothers-struggles-on-mound\/\">struggled since that big \u201913 season<\/a> \u2014 with a 6.1-per-nine walk rate that has contributed to a 1.74 WHIP and 5.77 ERA since.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>The Cubs traded for him after the 2015 season before releasing him during the following spring training, then&nbsp;signed as a low-cost, low-risk free agent before last season, when he made three inauspicious appearances.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>If he has rediscovered at least a modest amount of command and repeatable mechanics, the Cubs might have a significant weapon in their 2021 bullpen (Mr. Brothers, meet Mr. Yelich).<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>That could be the biggest \u201cif\u201d for a roster full of them as the Cubs open the season, based on the last seven years.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>But Ross seems convinced by what he has seen from the veteran, especially in seven scoreless spring appearances in which he has nine strikeouts and just one walk.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>\u201cHe\u2019s had success \u2014 dominant success \u2014 in the big leagues, and has gone through a unique journey,\u201d Ross said. \u201cYou talk to him, and he\u2019s mentally where he needs to be. He\u2019s mentally tough.<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p>\u201cHe\u2019s put his struggles behind him, I truly believe, and he\u2019s ready to impact our ball club in a big way.\u201d<\/p>\r\n\r\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/www.nbcsports.com\/chicago\/podcasts#CubsTalk\"><em><strong>Click here to subscribe to the Cubs Talk Podcast for free.<\/strong><\/em><\/a><\/p>\r\n\r\n<p><iframe height=\"230px\" src=\"https:\/\/art19.com\/shows\/194b557a-5b1a-41fa-9e3c-3a7b33a4c831\/embed?playlist_type=latest\" width=\"100%\"><\/iframe><\/p>\r\n\r\n<drupal-entity data-embed-button=\"app_promo_embed\" data-entity-embed-display=\"view_mode:block_content.full\" data-entity-type=\"block_content\" data-entity-uuid=\"84a634bd-85a1-4e39-9e2a-7d404e5646e3\" data-langcode=\"en\"><\/drupal-entity>\r\n"
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  21. description => "Oh, Brothers! Don't look now, but the hard-throwing lefty with seven years of command problems is about to open the season as the Cubs' second lefty on 13- or 14-man pitching staff."
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Cubs Insider

Cubs Insider

Pencil in Rex Brothers as the Cubs’ second left-hander on the opening pitching staff.

Cubs manager David Ross all but officially announced that the power-pitching veteran with the sizable command issues in recent years has earned one of the final spots in an eight- or nine-man bullpen after an exceptional performance so far this spring.

“I’ve looked at Rex hard, and he’s done nothing but prove that he belongs in the big leagues,” Ross said Thursday — just one week from Opening Day. “I’ve thrown him to the wolves multiple games, and he’s done nothing but answer the bell. The ball’s coming out as good as I’ve ever seen it. He’s been consistent throwing strikes.”

Brothers, 33, would be only the second lefty on a pitching staff that is projected to include at least 13 pitchers — including no lefties in the opening rotation for the first time since 2011.

Reliever Andrew Chafin is the other lefty.

Brothers, the former Rockies first-round draft pick, always has been a hard-throwing pitcher with swing-and-miss stuff (10+ strikeouts per nine innings in his career), and in 2013 he posted a 1.74 ERA with 19 saves in 40 appearances for the Rockies, playing his home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

But command has always been an issue, especially as he struggled since that big ’13 season — with a 6.1-per-nine walk rate that has contributed to a 1.74 WHIP and 5.77 ERA since.

 

The Cubs traded for him after the 2015 season before releasing him during the following spring training, then signed as a low-cost, low-risk free agent before last season, when he made three inauspicious appearances.

If he has rediscovered at least a modest amount of command and repeatable mechanics, the Cubs might have a significant weapon in their 2021 bullpen (Mr. Brothers, meet Mr. Yelich).

That could be the biggest “if” for a roster full of them as the Cubs open the season, based on the last seven years.

But Ross seems convinced by what he has seen from the veteran, especially in seven scoreless spring appearances in which he has nine strikeouts and just one walk.

“He’s had success — dominant success — in the big leagues, and has gone through a unique journey,” Ross said. “You talk to him, and he’s mentally where he needs to be. He’s mentally tough.

“He’s put his struggles behind him, I truly believe, and he’s ready to impact our ball club in a big way.”

Click here to subscribe to the Cubs Talk Podcast for free.

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