Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, most likely will not be ready by Opening Day, and that Scott Feldman will start and won't need to multi-task as he did with the Rangers.
With Feldman securing a spot and Baker not being ready by April 1, that leaves one vacancy in the rotation. Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson are set, and Matt Garza also appears healthy after missing more than two months last year because of an elbow problem.
"There's an above average chance Baker is going to probably start a little bit late, just because you don't want to rush him," Sveum said Thursday. "There's no need for that. You have Garza, Samardzija, Jackson, Feldman and the other spot, and you never know — there's no guarantees of any spots besides the top three. We'll let it all pan out and see what happens."
But asked about whether Feldman, who has pitched in relief and started for the Rangers, would be considered for the 'pen, Sveum said, "Feldman's a starter. He's going to be one of the starters."
Villanueva will likely be used in relief, Sveum said. That would give lefty Travis Wood an edge for the last rotation spot.
I don't think much of Villanueva, but I'd rather he be starting than Feldman. What will be most interesting regarding the rotation is what happens when Scott Baker returns. That decision will more than likely come down to how Travis Wood and Scott Feldman have fared in the early going. My bet is on Wood keeping a job in the rotation.
The front of the rotation will be some combination of Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson and Jeff Samardzija.