Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Cubs [Print without images]

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wells makes strong case for rotation

By Bruce Levine

Maybe manager Mike Quade isn’t ready to declare Randy Wells as his fourth starter. However, the Belleville, Ill., native has certainly done his part on the mound this spring.

Randy Wells
Randy Wells is looking to rebound from a disastrous 2010 campaign.
Wells has thrown nine innings over four outings without allowing an earned run.

“I had a good feel for the sinker today,” Wells said. “I threw some good changeups as well and made some good pitches. I left a few pitches up, but, for the most part, I was down in the zone throwing strikes.”

Wells made quick work out of the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, going four inning and allowing just two hits in his longest outing of the spring.

The Cubs’ starter explained his newfound confidence after posting an 8-14 record in 2010.

”Over the winter they send you tapes and you watch them,” Wells said. “I had a lot of time to watch them, and I really didn’t focus on the mistakes or the bad games. I really paid attention to them and watched when I had bad innings and what triggered that. So far I’ve worked on those things in camp.”

Wells describes what his newfound philosophy is.

“A lot of it is just staying calm and not panicking when you get a guy in scoring position,” Wells said. “You just try to keep your wits about you and make pitches. If guys get hits or score runs, it’s not the end of the world.”

Wells was certainly out of sync during the 2010 season. He struggled on the field and had trouble dealing with media scrutiny.

“I think I panicked a bit when things got bad,” Wells said. “I tried to force things. Now I take a deep breath, relax and evaluate the situation.”

Of the other candidates for the two open spots in the Cubs’ rotation, only Andrew Cashner has had anything more that moderate success so far this spring. Cashner had his best outing on Thursday as well, throwing four innings and allowing just a solo homer to former White Sox utility man Jayson Nix.

Manager Mike Quade is on record stating that he won’t name the team’s fourth and fifth starters until sometime between March 20-26.

Grabow taking it slow

Left-handed reliver John Grabow has been nursing an achy left shoulder since his one and only outing on Feb. 27. Grabow had his 2010 season cut short due to an injured left knee, so this spring he’s taking the cautious route as both he and the Cubs’ training staff try to strengthen the shoulder before he goes back into competition.

“I think I’ll be alright,” Grabow said. “You want to work on the command of your fastball and breaking stuff. But getting the arm strong is the number one thing. If I get into five or seven games before the season starts, I’ll be alright.”