Sean Marshall is taking direct aim at the Cubs 5th spot in the Cubs starting rotation. Marshall had another effective outing on Friday in the Cubs 8-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. Marshall pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up only an unearned run on 3 hits and 1 walk. He also had 3 strikeouts. That marks 12 1/3 straight spring innings in which Marshall has not allowed an earned run.
Aaron Heilman has also pitched the ball well for the Cubs as a starter this spring. Either Marshall or Heilman would look good in the 5th starting spot, and Marshall has done just about everything he could do to lock down the job. The only thing going against him is that the Cubs only have 1 other left-handed pitcher in the bullpen – Neal Cotts. By keeping Marshall in the bullpen, that would give Manager Lou Pinella 2 left-handed options to work with late in the game. But is that really a reason to keep Marshall out of the starting rotation? We’ll just have to wait and see. The positives – Marshall and Heilman both have experience as starters and coming out of the bullpen. While the “loser” of the competition will surely be disappointed, he will have what it takes to be effective out of the Cubs ‘pen in 2009.
Kevin Hart and Mike Stanton pitched scoreless innings in relief for the Cubs. The Cubs are now 8-9 during spring ball.