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Monday, March 19, 2012
Roster taking shape; Mather impresses

By Doug Padilla

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As if on cue, Joe Mather delivered a two-run single Monday not long after Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the utility man has basically made the Opening Day roster.

“I’d be lying if I said it was real close,” Sveum said when asked where Mather stood in the backup outfield spot battle. “The guy’s doing everything he possibly can. He can play so many positions, he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He’s hit all kinds of pitching so far. He’s hit velocity, he’s hit side-arm right-handers. He played a heck of a center field [over the weekend] in Vegas. He can steal you a base.”

In fact, the entire roster has appeared to take shape. As it looks now, the five-man bench would consist of Mather, Reed Johnson, Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker and a backup catcher (either Steve Clevenger or Welington Castillo).

“I think probably next Monday, a week from today is when we’ll probably have everything done, whether it’s told everybody or whatever,” Sveum said. “Everybody will know where they’re going and all that. We’ll probably pair down here some after the off day [Wednesday] and then by next Monday, Tuesday we’ll have things pretty much done. I hope we can do it by then.”

DeWitt’s name has come up in recent trade rumors, and if he was dealt it could open a spot for a player such as Adrian Cardenas or Alfredo Amezaga to become a backup middle infielder.

Despite breaking through with a pair of hits Sunday, speedy outfielder Tony Campana appears headed to Triple-A Iowa to open the season.