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Barney, Johnson make Opening Day roster

Barney, Johnson make Opening Day roster

Barney, Johnson make Opening Day roster
MESA, Ariz. -- Darwin Barney and Reed Johnson made the Cubs' Opening Day roster, as the team trimmed Fernando Perez, Bobby Scales, Augie Ojeda, Scott Moore and Matt Camp from the Major League camp on Thursday.

Perez was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Scales, Ojeda, Moore and Camp were assigned to the Minor League camp.

The moves left 31 players in Cubs camp, including 16 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and five outfielders. All that's left to be decided is the fifth spot in the rotation plus the bullpen and the identity of the backup catcher, which is down to Koyie Hill, Welington Castillo and Max Ramirez. Ramirez has been slowed by a sore left wrist; an MRI on Wednesday was negative.

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This will be Barney's first Opening Day on a big league roster; he batted .299 last season at Iowa and was hitting .359 this spring. The infielder has been impressive at second base and may have passed Blake DeWitt on the depth chart.

"He's played himself into significant time and, it's Spring Training," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "[Barney] is making progress. He does a lot of things outside of the batter's box that you really like. He's given himself every chance to be an important part of this infield. Now we'll go north and see what happens in April."

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DeWitt has struggled. He's been playing only second base this spring but will now play some third because the Cubs may need to use him as a backup there.

"We'll be patient with him," Quade said of DeWitt. "He's 25 years old. He's a .260 lifetime big league hitter and we'll expect him to get a lot better.

"We want to give him a chance to develop as much as he could at second base. That's still a work in progress, there's no question. He did a good job for us last year and his numbers at the big league level were good. ... He needs to get better and he will."

Johnson, a non-roster invitee for the second time, was hitting .231. Perez, acquired from the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, hit .143 in 16 games.

"I believe Fernando needs to go play," Quade said. "The guy's blessed with unbelievable speed."

But Perez needs to figure out how to use it, Quade said, and also to improve defensively.

Ojeda has been bothered this spring by back spasms, limiting him to seven games. Moore batted .342, Camp .200, and Scales .375 this spring.

"I can't get mad -- I played well," said Scales, 33. "The only camp I had better than this was with Boston in '07, and there were zero spots open on that roster and there was one here.

"I'm not upset, I'm not mad," Scales said. "Of course you want to break with the team Opening Day but it's not going to happen for me this year. That doesn't mean I can't come up and help at some point. Hopefully, when the phone rings, it's me, and I can come up and help."

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.

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