His Spring debut notwithstanding, Chicago Cubs hurler Andrew Cashner is going to get a very good chance to win one of the last two spots in the rotation. Cashner, 24, was a reliever with the big team last year, but manager Mike Quade has correctly noted that, if Cashner can be a starter, the Cubs would be doing both him and the team a disservice by never trying him there.
And the Cubs really want him to succeed.
Carlos Silva has the big contract and had that big first half last year. Randy Wells has the 59-start run over the last two years and had a strong spring debut Monday.
But when it comes to the Cubs’ spring battle for the last two spots in the starting rotation, one of those jobs is right-hander Andrew Cashner’s to lose.
‘‘We think he’s our future,’’ pitching coach Mark Riggins said.
And the Cubs plan to invest much of their spring attention on that future starting right now. They’re hoping last year’s rookie bullpen star can become the National League’s next young rotation star — if not the next Kerry Wood.
‘‘Don’t do that to him,’’ Wood said of the already-rampant comparisons. ‘‘It happens when you’re from Texas and you throw hard. I mean, I got compared to Nolan [Ryan] and Roger [Clemens]. But he’s going to be Cashner. He’ll be fine.’’
Cashner being Cashner is exactly what the Cubs want from their 24-year-old flamethrower. He has shown a major-league-quality changeup early in camp after working on it the last two months since the Cubs told him he’d be starting this spring. Chicago Sun-Times.
Cashner’s 111 innings last year between the minors and the bigs was the most in his professional career, so there is reason for caution, even if he wins a rotation spot. He simply cannot (and should not) be expected to crank it up to 200 innings this year.
He can still help the Cubs win; if he averages 6 innings over 30 starts, that’s just 180 innings, which is probably manageable.
That all said – if Cashner is in the rotation, that last rotation spot better go to Randy Wells.