Randy Wells will open up the Cubs spring training slate with the opening start against the Oakland A’s on Thursday. Wells started the 2009 season at Triple-A Iowa but ended up being the Cubs most reliable starting pitcher taking advantage of a slew of injuries to Cubs regulars during the course of the long MLB schedule. Wells ended up making 27 starts, going 12-10 with a stellar 3.05 ERA. He struck out 104 batters while walking just 46 in 165 1/3 innings pitched. That all added up to a nifty 1.28 WHIP. Wells locked up a starting spot in the 2010 Cubs rotation with his consistent performance in 2009. Manager Lou Pinella will look to Wells to anchor the 4th spot in the rotation once Ted Lilly returns from his shoulder surgery.
Wells credits playing guitar and trying to write songs with keeping him on an even-feel during the long MLB season. He has played guitar for about 4 years and in the last year has gotten serious about expanding his playing abilities and writing music. It’s not easy according to the righty: “I’m just starting out. I enjoy writing down thoughts and memories. We get to do so much cool stuff. It’s nice to write down and remember it. It’s like taking pictures… It keep syou out of trouble and from spending money and doing dumb stuff.”
Whatever it takes I guess. With questions at the back end of the rotation until Lilly’s return towards the end of April, it is really important for Wells to get off to a good start in 2010. Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster should be fine at the front end, but it will be up to Wells to bridge that gap in the 3-spot in front of a quartet of hopefuls – Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny. We’ll keep you posted here after a few weeks go by during spring training. If 1 of the 4 breaks out with a few good appearances in a row, they could lock up a slot in the starting rotation fairly early on.