Sean Marshall, Starlin Castro and Ron Santo are among the topics in this week's Inbox. Email your questions to email@example.com, and please include your full name and hometown. Pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 13.
I was wondering if there was any talk of giving Sean Marshall a shot at one of the two starting rotation spots this spring. Does he have a desire to be a starter? With John Grabow coming back and lefty James Russell a bullpen option if he doesn't make the rotation, could Marshall be successful as a starter?
-- Marvin W., Bellingham, Wash.
Marshall could do either, and he's the perfect team player who is willing to do whatever the Cubs ask. After watching him last season -- 2.65 ERA in a career-high 80 games -- I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed as a set-up man. With Tom Gorzelanny gone via trade to the Nationals, the Cubs obviously don't have a lefty in the rotation -- yet. They are expected to consider James Russell this spring. He began his pro career in the Minors as a starter. The Cubs could stretch Marshall out this spring, as well. He started nine games as recently as 2009. In 59 career starts, Marshall is 16-26 with a 4.86 ERA; in 155 relief appearances, he has a 2.89 ERA. Grabow, by the way, is healthy and determined to make up for a lost 2010 season. "I'm looking for some redemption," he said. The other lefty option in the bullpen is Scott Maine. Why deal Gorzelanny? With the addition of Matt Garza, the Cubs had an overload of starters. Trading Gorzelanny will free up some payroll and help the Cubs restock their farm system.
With all the talk about not having a leadoff man, I think Starlin Castro would be a good fit there. Everyone thinks he's a good No. 2 hitter -- and I don't disagree -- but I also think he would be good batting leadoff. If let loose, he can steal a lot of bases and mix things up with his speed.
-- Josh P., Los Angeles
Castro still needs to learn pitchers' moves to know when it's the right time to run. An average runner can be a good base stealer once they get the timing down. The Cubs didn't want to overwhelm Castro with leadoff duties in his first season. This winter, he batted fifth for Escogido in the Dominican Republic and hit .317 in 16 games. Let's see how manager Mike Quade uses him this spring.
I noticed that Richie Zisk isn't Daytona's hitting coach this year. Has he retired or been assigned to another area of the organization?
-- Terry L., Kissimmee, Fla.
Zisk, who was part of Class A Daytona's staff for 16 seasons, will be a pro scout for the Cubs. His territory will include the Gulf Coast League, Florida State League and Major Leagues at the Marlins' and Rays' home games. For those of you who have asked about former Cubs catcher Jody Davis, who also worked in the Minor League system, he is no longer with the organization.
Are fans going to be able to buy the Ron Santo patch that the team is planning to wear this season?
-- Chris D., Hoffman Estates, Ill.
The No. 10 patches, which the Cubs will wear to honor Santo, were for sale at the Cubs Convention. The team ordered a limited number of patches, and fans can call (773) 404-2827 to purchase one. As of now, there are no plans to sell them at Wrigley Field gift shops.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.