According to multiple reports, Randy Wells is expected back with the big club today, though things are probably going to be a bit different for him.
Although there’s now an opening in the rotation after Chris Volstad was optioned to AAA Iowa, everyone expects that role to go to Travis Wood, who will be called back up to start next week in that open spot. Wells, on the other hand, is likely “replacing” Kerry Wood in the bullpen (though the official roster move could be Geovany Soto going to the DL, and Wells being added). His role is yet undetermined, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him work in the 6th/7th range until the Cubs see what he can do in a one-inning role. I don’t necessarily expect him to be a long reliever just because he was a starter until now.
Wells, 29, was a successful starter in 2009 and 2010, but missed a big chunk of 2011 with a forearm strain, and struggled at times when he was healthy. He didn’t make the Cubs’ rotation out of Spring Training, and has struggled mightily at AAA (7.71 ERA in six starts, with a weak 1.83 K/BB ratio). He got a brief chance to start with the big club when Ryan Dempster missed a couple starts a few weeks ago, but Wells failed to impress.
I’m excited to see what Wells can do out of the pen, for now. Maybe he can crank it up a couple extra MPH, and pair that velocity with his typically good control. Then again, the first inning has always been one of Wells’ worst innings in his career (5.75 ERA).