Cashner being converted for relief work

Cashner being converted for relief work

CHICAGO -- Cubs first-round pick Andrew Cashner is now in the bullpen for Triple-A Iowa to better prepare the right-hander if he's needed for the big league team.

Cashner is 3-0 with an 0.95 ERA in three starts at Iowa. But the Cubs already have a surplus of starters and the thinking is, it's unfair to throw a young pitcher into a relief situation in the Majors without knowing what it's like to sit in the 'pen or warm up on short notice.

"It surprised me when I first heard about it," Cashner told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday. "I talked [to the Cubs] about going to relief a while back, but it was always their thought that I was going to start. Working out of the bullpen is something that excites me."

The Iowa Cubs did the same thing with Jay Jackson. He was back in the rotation Thursday and started.

"Jackson passed," Iowa pitching coach Mike Mason told the Register. "Now, it's Cashner's turn to see if he can acclimate to the bullpen."

So far, Cashner has started 33 out of his 35 pro appearances since he was the Cubs' first-round pick in 2008.