CHICAGO -- The Cubs have used 12 different starting pitchers this season, tied for third-most in the National League, and set a club record by using 53 different players.
There's been a lot of on-the-job training, especially for the pitchers.
"Do we miss our core guys? Of course we do," Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio said Thursday of Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm, who were traded, and Matt Garza, who has been sidelined with an injury since July 28. "I think, for the most part, the guys who we've filled in have improved. We'll never be satisfied with anything. These guys are getting a crash course in how to be Major League players."
Bosio has seen encouraging signs from young relievers such as Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis and Jaye Chapman. Plus, they've had to work with young catchers Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger.
"It seems like everything we're doing as an organization, it's a great learning experience," Bosio said, "but at the same time we want to be competitive and fight and win. The best way to develop is teach them how to win. Hands full? Yes. Eager guys? Yes. Learning on the job? Yes."
He's asked Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood to take on extra duties, too.
"I've told Jeff and Woody and Matt this, that you guys are the veteran guys, you guys have to lead, you have to communicate, you have to take over that clubhouse and be that presence, whether you like it or not," Bosio said. "That's also a learning experience for them because they've never been in that position. There's a whole lot of learning going on right now."