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Clevenger, Gonzalez in running for final bench spot

Clevenger, Gonzalez in running for final bench spot

MESA, Ariz. -- The competition for the one opening on the bench has come down to Steve Clevenger and Alberto Gonzalez, but the Cubs are looking outside for help.

Clevenger helped his case by delivering a pinch-hit single on Friday against the Brewers.

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"That's the kind of thing Clevenger can bring to the table," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday. "Then you can pinch-hit [catcher Dioner] Navarro without worrying about things."

A left-handed hitter, Clevenger made the Cubs' Opening Day roster last year as the backup catcher, and can also play first and third. He's done well against left-handed pitchers this spring, too.

"He had a great at-bat and lined one through the hole," Sveum said of Clevenger's at-bat Friday. "That's what you're looking for in the long run is the pinch-hit and double-switch at-bats that can keep the line moving."

The Cubs are a little short-handed heading into the season with third baseman Ian Stewart expected to begin the year on the disabled list with a sore left quad. Luis Valbuena will get most of the starts at third, and the Cubs were expected to keep versatile Brent Lillibridge on the 25-man roster.

The Cubs are looking for multi-taskers. Brian Bogusevic batted .410 in 20 Cactus League games, but was assigned to the Minor League camp on Friday.

"We just had enough outfielders and with the ability for Lillibridge to play in the outfield and play all three positions, we needed a little more versatility out of that spot," Sveum said about the decision to send Bogusevic down. "He did a great job. He really surprised me how good an outfielder he was at both corner spots, probably as good as anybody in camp as far as the jumps and angles he took on balls.

"It's unfortunate for him -- it was a numbers thing," Sveum said. "If he was in some other camp that needed outfielders, it would've been a different story because he did a nice job."

Last season, the Cubs' third basemen combined to bat .201 with 12 home runs. In a perfect world, the club would add a left-handed bat that can provide some pop, but Sveum wasn't too concerned heading into the final week of spring games.

"We're not panicking; we're covered," he said.

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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