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Backup catcher job appears down to two

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs' backup catching battle appears to be a two-man race between Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo. Non-roster invitee Jason Jaramillo has not been able to compete because of a leg injury.

”It’s going to be a tough call at the end of spring,” manager Dale Sveum said. “They are both doing a great job. They both have their things to contribute. Who knows what will happen at the end? It is that close.”

• Sveum said pitcher Paul Maholm, who has been battling the flu, will get a start sometime in the next week. Maholm threw a side session Wednesday and will throw another side on Friday.

• Sveum will name his Opening Day starter soon. The only two pitchers that have a rotation slot are Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster. At this point of camp, the rest of the spots are up for grabs. “It’s a big prestigious thing, but they both are going to pitch in the first two series,” Sveum said of Dempster and Garza.

• Third baseman Ian Stewart was rested on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals with a sore hand. Sveum said there is no real concern about the injury.

• Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer sat with agent Bob Garber during Tuesday’s game. Garber represents free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt, who pitched last season for the Philadephia Phillies.