GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Cubs rolled out three starting candidates Friday and Randy Wells made a great impression by pitching in relief.
Wells pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, but it was his first batter of the game who was of note when he came on with one out and the bases loaded in the third inning and got Paul Konerko to ground into an inning-ending double play. The Cubs went on to a 5-1 victory.
Wells will get starts from here on out, whether it’s in the main Cactus League game or in a minor-league game, but for one day he was able to show some versatility in case the Cubs only have a relief spot available.
Wells followed Travis Wood, who went 2 1/3 innings, giving up three hits with two walks, but just one run scored.
When Wells came on in relief, he was actually in a curious position of making Wood’s pitching line a lot worse had he allowed a hit while in a role where he wasn’t very experienced.
But Cubs' starting candidates are showing that this battle is a healthy one with all of them rooting for each other, whether it’s Wood, Wells, Rodrigo Lopez, Jeff Samardzija, Andy Sonnanstine or Chris Volstad on the mound.
“You couldn’t ask for better guys to be competing against, personally,” Wells said. “We’re all pulling for each other and you don’t want anybody to have a bad game or anything like that. We rode over here together and stuff like that.”
Wood, who moved over from the Reds this winter, echoed that sentiment in his first spring outing, outside of his appearance in an intrasquad game.
“Yeah we look up on each other and see what happens [in each outing] just because they’re a great group of guys and if they did well you want to congratulate them,” Wood said.
He promises that I’s not to see that his changes were improved by somebody else faltering.
“For me I don’t like doing that just because we’re all in the same clubhouse,” Wood said. “May the best man win and no hard feelings either way.”
Lopez was the third starting candidate to pitch Friday throwing two scoreless innings. The three starters combined to pitch seven innings, giving up one run on four hits.
“[Starting] is just what I’m comfortable with,” Wells said. “I’ll do whatever it takes. What the team wants me to do I just want to be here. I think we’re on the right track. I think we’re onto something special and I definitely want to be a part of it. Whatever way I can be a part of it that’s what I want to do.”