"It's nice to be able to pinch-hit [Dioner] Navarro, pinch-hit Clevenger, pinch-run for them, and be able to use that roster spot there to do many, many things," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Monday. "To have two left-handers on the bench, and one of them is a switch-hitter, you can do so many things, having a guy who can catch."
Takahashi, a non-roster invitee, joins James Russell as the only left-handers in the bullpen.
"He's very durable," Sveum said of Takahashi. "If the game goes accordingly every day, then you have two lefties in the last few innings of the game."
Right-handed pitcher Scott Baker was placed on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. Right-handed pitcher Matt Garza (left lat strain), infielder Ian Stewart (left quad strain) and infielder Darwin Barney (left knee laceration) all were placed on the 15-day disabled list. Garza and Stewart were retroactive to March 22, while Barney was retroactive to Sunday.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Gonzalez, right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack, an eighth-round pick in 2009, was designated for assignment. Whitenack has been recovering from Tommy John surgery, which he had in 2011.
A few players and Sveum also switched uniform numbers on Opening Day. Sveum will now wear No. 4. He gave up No. 33 to pitcher Carlos Villanueva. Navarro will wear No. 30, and Travis Wood No. 37.
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.