Cubs' fifth rotation spot still undecided

March, 22, 2011
3/22/11
8:35
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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The battle for the Cubs’ fifth starter spot continued Tuesday – just eight days before the team is scheduled to break camp.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Silva
Allan Henry/US PresswireCarlos Silva is not yet out of the running to be in the Cubs' rotation.
Several weeks into the spring, no pitcher has risen above the others to claim the job. The next round of roster cuts could come as early as Thursday. One of the veterans still in consideration – Carlos Silva – will be the next pitcher to attempt to claim the rotation spot.

“Mr. Silva is starting against Oakland [on Wednesday],” Cubs manager Mike Quade said.

Silva has posted a 15.99 ERA for the spring to date. He has had issues both on and off the field and hasn’t had a good outing at any point. His best showing was a five-inning effort in which he surrendered four earned runs and two homers on March 12 against the Reds.

“I never count anybody out,” Quade said. “I’m anxious to see him pitch tomorrow. We still have some tough decisions. [We had] productive discussions today, nothing definitive. I have a lot to sleep or not to sleep on tonight. In the next couple of days, we got to get this thing down. The truck is leaving Sunday [for Chicago]. “

Right-hander Andrew Cashner had his chance to win the job outright on Monday. Cashner, however, couldn’t get over the hump. He allowed seven hits and four runs in three innings during a rainout in Tempe.

The third contender, veteran right-hander Braden Looper, surrendered eight runs in two innings in his last outing on Saturday. He remains the team’s third option for the vacant rotation spot.

Here are the three pitcher’s logs for spring training: Looper has pitched 10 2/3 innings, allowed 17 hits, 13 earned runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, 3 homers and a 10.97 ERA; Silva has pitched 11 1/3 innings, 29 hits, 20 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 4 homers and a 15.99 ERA; Cashner has pitched 11 1/3 innings, 11 hits, 5 earned runs, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts, 1 homer and a 3.97 ERA.

“I think people have had good outings,” Quade said. “But no one has been good start to finish battling for that fifth spot. No one battling for that spot has been consistent. That I will say.”

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
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OTHER LEADERS
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RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167