Cashner battles elements in fight for rotation

Cashner battles elements in fight for rotation

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It was rainy, cold and windy at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Monday, just the type of weather one would expect in Chicago in April. Andrew Cashner did his best to show he could pitch under those conditions.

Cashner gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks over three innings -- all statistics that won't count in the Cactus League -- in a rain-abbreviated game against the Angels. The game was stopped because of the inclement weather after 3 1/2 innings.

"I couldn't control much out there today," said Cashner, who started. "It was wet, windy and cold, but I still made some really good pitches today."

Cashner will be on the Cubs' Opening Day roster. What's still to be determined is what his role will be. Will he fill one of the vacancies in the rotation? Will he be back in the bullpen?

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On Tuesday, Cubs manager Mike Quade and the front office will meet to discuss what they want to accomplish in the final eight Cactus League games.

"I think I've thrown the ball well this whole spring and whatever decision they come up with, that's what I'm going to do," Cashner said. "I thought I've given it my best shot. I could've pitched better, but I thought I pitched well enough so we'll see what happens."

His competition for that final spot in the rotation is veteran Carlos Silva, who has struggled this spring. Another decision to be made is when Silva will pitch next. He's on schedule to go Wednesday but so is Carlos Zambrano, who also needs innings. One option is to have one of them go to the Minor League camp to start.

The weather conditions didn't help Cashner on Monday.

"A lot of the sliders I left up out of the zone, the ball kept slipping out of my hand and that was the biggest thing for me today," he said. "I got 0-2 on a lot of guys and strike one on a lot of guys and I didn't make that pitch that I needed to. That's what I came in and talked to [Greg] Maddux about. He said, 'You don't have to be great, just be good,' and that's what I need to work on."

Maddux, a four-time Cy Young winner, is a special adviser on the Cubs and has been counseling the young pitchers this spring. Cashner will listen.

"There's so much I like about his poise, his calmness," Quade said of the young right-hander. "The stuff is there and [he has to] deliver the stuff consistently with the kind of command and improvement on the breaking ball. I really like his changeup a lot."

All Cashner can do is hope next time out, the elements don't interfere.

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.