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Message #20 of 34  *NEW*
To:  Cubs fans
Subject:  Changes for the Pitching Staff
Date:  6/22/05, 9:27am
Two great wins by the Cubs the last two nights against the Milwaukee Brewers. On Monday Greg Maddux was impressive, as was Jerome Williams in his Cubs debut on Tuesday. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez continued their hot streaks both with home runs in each of the games, and Ryan Dempster nailed down the save both times. Hopefully Carlos Zambrano will get back on track tonight as the Cubs go for their third straight win against Doug Davis and the Brewers. Davis has been very solid this year. I remember in 2003 when he first joined Milwaukee he had a terrific outing to beat the Cubs in Wrigley Field late in the season. It hurt the Cubs in their bid to make the playoffs, but we all know what happened after that.

Anyways, some very encouraging news regarding Mark Prior, as it sounds like he is likely to be the starter Sunday against the White Sox. After getting drilled by a line drive in the elbow some thought maybe his season was over, but for him to return just 30 days after that is great news. And Kerry Wood should be back within a week or two as well. Of course what everyone is talking about right now is what will happen with the imminent return of these two. The starting rotation likely will be Wood, Prior, Zambrano, Maddux, and either Sergio Mitre or Jerome Williams in the fifth spot. If Williams can pitch frequently like he did on Tuesday he should stay in the rotation. Mitre has been up and down but overall solid, but I think if Williams proves he can stay in the rotation Mitre would be valuable in the bullpen as a long reliever and a guy who can get ground balls when they are needed. Glendon Rusch likely will go back to the bullpen to fill in his original roll of a long reliever and spot starter, which is where I think he should be.

Cliff Bartosh has already gone to the minors, and Rich Hill likely will when Prior comes back. When Wood returns the bullpen will likely be Ryan Dempster as the closer, with Rusch, Will Ohman, and Mike Remlinger from the left and Michael Wuertz and Mitre/Williams from the right. For the other right-hander the Cubs will likely have to choose between sending Todd Wellemeyer back to the minors or releasing Joe Borowski. Obviously, Borowski was so good for the Cubs as the closer in 2003 and I would hate to see him leave, but since he has come back from his injuries he has not been effective at all. Wellemeyer has at times struggled to throw strikes but has been decent overall. Jim Hendry hopefully will trade for some help in the bullpen, but if the Cubs avoid more injuries it looks like they are gonna have plenty of starting pitching down the stretch, and that is a good problem to have.

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