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What has been a foregone conclusion for a week or more is now simply a conclusion. Sean Marshall will open the season as the Chicago Cubs fifth starter. Aaron Heilman will start in the bullpen.

“I had a nice talk with Aaron,” Piniella said after the game. “I told him he’d done an outstanding job. Marshall’s going to be the fifth stater, and Heilman, I told him he’s going to pitch in the seventh-, eighth-inning role. He was fine with it and said he would help in any way he could.” Daily Herald.

Marshall’s never thrown 150 innings in a professional season, so Heilman probably shouldn’t throw away his starting pitcher hat.

Heilman, for his part, was one of the best setup pitchers in all of baseball in 2006 and 2007 before falling off a cliff last year. Reportedly that was due to some knee issues that he is no longer dealing with.

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