Six pitchers still in starting mix

MESA, Ariz. -- As of now, the Chicago Cubs have six legitimate candidates for their five rotation spots.

Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza were always considered locks, and perhaps so was Paul Maholm, depending on who you asked. That seemed to create a logjam of about six candidates for the final two rotation spots.

Maholm has shown he belongs, giving up just one run in his two outings. He started Cactus League play a little behind schedule after missing three days with a nasty flu bug.

Other candidates that have proved they deserve to start are Chris Volstad, Jeff Samardzija and Randy Wells.

Volstad was the latest to impress, giving up one run over four innings at Las Vegas against a formidable Texas Rangers lineup. It is the only run Volstad has allowed this spring in three starts (10 innings).

Constructing the five-man rotation was always going to be one of the coaching staff’s toughest tasks this spring. Starting Monday, the Cubs have 17 spring games remaining, not counting potential “B” games to make their decision.

Wells will pitch in a “B” game on Monday against the Cleveland Indians. He hasn't given up a run in two Cactus League outings.

Samardzija has given up three runs on six hits in 10 innings this spring.