Right-hander Chris Volstad started Wednesday's game against the Nationals, and despite the 6.06 ERA he brought into the outing, manager Dale Sveum said both he and left-hander Travis Wood could be members of the Cubs' Opening Day rotation next season.
"I don't see why not," Sveum said. "There's going to be a lot of things that happen this winter with the roster, I'm sure. You're talking about guys that can pitch, pitch innings who a lot of teams would like. They're fourth and fifth starters and hopefully trying to get better to get into a bigger role to be starters, too. I definitely think they're in the mix."
Both players are in their first years with the club, and given Chicago's lack of veteran talent heading into next season, their performances in September could go a long way toward determining their roles entering the offseason.
Volstad, 25, was 2-9 with a 6.06 ERA in 81 2/3 innings entering Wednesday. The 6-foot-8, 230-pounder was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Aug. 1, and in six starts last month, he went 3-3 with a 3.72 ERA over 36 1/3 innings.
"He's come back from a lot of adversity through the first part of the year," Sveum said. "He went down, did his work, got back and he's pitched very well, too. It's hard to find guys that have that kind of adversity and that much of a losing streak, and come back and be the same guy every day without hanging his head."
Wood, meanwhile, is 4-11 with a 4.64 ERA in 120 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old lefty lost all six of his starts in August, but he has also been up and down from the Minors to the Majors this season. Back in May, he was brought up from Iowa after Volstad was sent there.
"The durability that Travis Wood has shown from not being a big-statured guy, the willingness to change the mentality that he had pitching to make those adjustments and keep himself in ballgames and pitch to weaknesses for what he's gotten," Sveum said. "He doesn't really spin the ball a whole lot, but he learned how to handle and pitch with the kind of stuff he has."