MESA, Ariz. Maybe this was a preview, but Randy Wells didnt want to search for any deeper meaning. He has tried to block out all the noise and just pitch when they give him the ball.
Wells came in during the fifth inning on Saturday and got five outs in a 5-1 loss to the San Diego Padres at HoHoKam Stadium. He has said all the right things, even as it seems like the odds are tilted against him.
This could become his role the long man out of the bullpen but Wells wasnt treating it like a showcase.
I dont really look into it, Wells said. Theres an obvious competition going on and you start getting caught up in that, then it makes it tougher to pitch.
Wells has received only one Cactus League start and threw three shutout innings that day against the Milwaukee Brewers. Hes pitched in an intra-squad scrimmage and a B game. Hes not complaining.
Its just the way we worked out this spring, Wells said. We got a lot of guys who have to get their starts. Thats just what the deal is.
Dale Sveum has Wells piggybacking and scheduling issues because of the number of rotation candidates that came to camp. The manager said that he knows Wells capabilities after his years in the division as a Brewers coach. That body of work also wasnt enough to guarantee Wells a spot.
If decisions are going to be announced by Wednesday Sveums timeline then there arent many chances left to make an impression.
Sveum wrote off Jeff Samardzijas performance (seven runs on 10 hits in four innings) on Friday against the Colorado Rockies as a lesson, all part of the learning curve.
You cant throw 90 percent of all your pitches 91 mph and above, Sveum said. You better have unbelievable location if youre doing that.
The manager didnt necessarily think that Samardzija opened the door for Wells or Rodrigo Lopez, instead framing it as probably the best thing that happened to him, so he realizes that you have to change bat speeds.
As a rookie in 2009, Wells went 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA. The next season he made 32 starts and accounted for almost 200 innings. A forearm injury wiped out two months of last season, but he closed by going 6-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.
There is a reasonable expectation of what youd get from Wells as the fifth starter, but the Cubs see potential upside in Samardzija and Chris Volstad. Long man wouldnt be Wells first choice, but hes speaking in clichs, thinking team first, not wanting to make any waves.
Id be disappointed, Wells said. Its three years in the rotation and (then to) have to go to the bullpen. But it could be a new challenge, something exciting. Either way, youre going to have to make adjustments. And if I do end up in the rotation, then Ill just try (to) have a better year than I did last year and take it one step further.