Cubs to begin a little light in bullpen

April, 4, 2012
Padilla By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs’ bullpen proved even harder to put together than expected.

[+] EnlargeRodrigo Lopez
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezRodrigo Lopez is the odd man out of the Cubs bullpen after the team claimed infielder Luis Valbuena.
Because the club claimed infielder Luis Valbuena off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, they will open the season with just six relief pitchers.

General manager Jed Hoyer revealed the bullpen before Wednesday’s workout at Wrigley Field saying Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, James Russell, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp and Lendy Castillo all are on the roster.

The odd man out in the group is right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, who was expected to be the long man. No official move has been announced on Lopez, who was a non-roster invitee to spring training on a minor-league contract. Hoyer suggested, though, that Lopez remains solidly in the club’s plans.

“I think Rodrigo is likely to make an appearance here at Wrigley very quickly,” Hoyer said. “But with the flexibility we were able to go with 14 [position players] and 11 [relievers] early on and had the ability to claim a guy like Valbuena.”

The flexibility Hoyer was talking about was the off day on Friday that will allow relievers used in Thursday’s game to get some extra rest. But the bullpen isn’t expected to stay at six pitchers beyond the weekend.

With so many bench players having the ability to play on the infield, rumors have already started that somebody in that group could be dealt. Much of the speculation centers around Blake DeWitt, who, like Valbuena, bats left-handed. Valbuena’s advantage is that he can play shortstop.

Another odd man out in the bullpen is right-hander Manny Corpas, who had an up-and-down spring. Corpas, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, had been taken off the 40-man roster in January and was a non-roster invitee to spring training.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for and ESPN Radio 1000.



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Jake Arrieta
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BAS. Castro .292
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
ERAT. Wood 5.03
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