|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
MESA, Ariz. -- After a down season in 2010, Chicago Cubs pitcher Randy Wells believes he got a bad rap from the media and fans for questioning his focus and preparation.
Wells, one of six pitchers competing for two spots in the Cubs rotation this spring, went 8-14 with a 4.26 ERA last season. Stories circulated last season that Wells wasn't getting his work done or getting proper rest, including a rumor that he was out late the night before a start celebrating the Stanley Cup title with several members of the Chicago Blackhawks.
"I think the two things I got mad about last year was the media or fans' perception of who you are gets tainted by one false story," Wells said. "I wasn't out with the Blackhawks, and I have never gone out before a start.
"I'm not going to make something up and tell you I don't like to go out and blow off some steam and get away from the game a little bit. I like to go out to dinner and catch a few concerts, but who doesn't like to do that? I think because we are Major League Baseball players people think we should live in a bubble and stay inside."
Wells, 28, was 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA in 27 starts as a rookie in 2009 and even received some consideration for National League Rookie of the Year. But he struggled last season, especially at Wrigley Field. He was 4-8 with a 4.09 ERA at home, and he had a 4.95 ERA during all day games last season.
"You can't really control what people say about you. I've forgotten about it, but it's a little tough when people are yelling at you when you're warming up 'Hey, did you go out last night?' " Wells said. "I know who I am. I know how to prepare to win a job, and I know how to go about winning ballgames. As long as I do that everything should work out."
Wells has dedicated himself to getting a foothold on a starting rotation spot. He will compete against veterans Braden Looper, Todd Wellemeyer and Carlos Silva along with youngsters Andrew Cashner, James Russell and Casey Coleman for the final two spots in the rotation behind Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.
"I'm not a guy who is going to worry about everybody and what they say. I give everything I got to this game," Wells said. "It's the only thing I'm good at. It's the only thing I have ever loved. It means a lot to me, and I'm not going to jeopardize it for a night on the town."
Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.