Cubs still looking to finalize bullpen roles

Cubs still looking to finalize bullpen roles

PHOENIX -- The Cubs' rotation is set. The bullpen is still being evaluated.

The Cubs headed into their final two exhibition games with some decisions to be made. Jose Veras, James Russell, Pedro Strop and Wesley Wright are set. There is still some debate about Alberto Cabrera, Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon, and the Cubs also are looking at some of the relievers who were assigned to the Minor Leagues earlier this spring.

Cabrera had looked sharp early. But in his last two outings, he's struggled, including a game against the Angels on Tuesday when the right-hander gave up five runs on four hits over one-third of an inning. Cabrera is out of options.

Among the pitchers at Chase Field on Friday for the final two games against the D-backs were Brian Schlitter, Zac Rosscup, Neil Ramirez, Blake Parker, Armando Rivero and Jonathan Sanchez. All had been in big league camp at the start of Spring Training.

"We're still winding it down," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "We haven't finished our decisions and we'll work through it in the next 24-48 hours."

The Cubs don't need to set their 25-man Opening Day roster until Sunday, in advance of Monday's opener against the Pirates at PNC Park.

On Friday, Carlos Villanueva, who had been an option for the bullpen, was named the fifth starter.

"I think we have a way better team than we did [last year]," Villanueva said. "The fact that a lot of tough decisions came down to the wire let's people know that we're not all thinking about the future right now, we're thinking about the present, and guys are thinking about now. We want to win now."

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.