Cubs' 'hybrid' rotation includes rotating fifth starter or 6-man rotation

The battle for the fifth spot in the Cubs' rotation could end up being a "hybrid moment," according to manager Joe Maddon.The biggest factors, according to Maddon, is that neither Brett Anderson nor Mike Montgomery has pitched 200 innings in a...

Cubs' 'hybrid' rotation includes rotating fifth starter or 6-man rotation

The battle for the fifth spot in the Cubs' rotation could end up being a "hybrid moment," according to manager Joe Maddon.The biggest factors, according to Maddon, is that neither Brett Anderson nor Mike Montgomery has pitched 200 innings in a...

25 February 2017 Saturday 20:03
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Cubs' 'hybrid' rotation includes rotating fifth starter or 6-man rotation

The battle for the fifth spot in the Cubs' rotation could end up being a "hybrid moment," according to manager Joe Maddon.

The biggest factors, according to Maddon, is that neither Brett Anderson nor Mike Montgomery has pitched 200 innings in a season, and Anderson, who has more major-league experience than Montgomery, has had an injury-plagued career.

"Maybe fold one back into the bullpen for a bit while the other one starts, or vice versa," Maddon said Saturday. "Or just jump a sixth guy in there now and then just to keep the other guys from being overworked too early while you're giving these guys some work."

Said Montgomery: "I did it last year a little bit, so I have that experience under my belt. It's the mentality that you have to be ready for everything. Last year I made seven starts (with the Mariners and Cubs). That will help, and I'll be readier mentally and physically for that."

The Cubs are being extremely cautious about their starters' workload after coming off a World Series title. Maddon spoke about the possibility of employing a six-man rotation during the 2017 season as early as last September, although the thought of a "hybrid" spot has only been discussed.

Photos from the Cubs-Athletics spring training game on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona.

Baez on hold: Maddon reiterated it will be tough to guarantee playing time for Javier Baez despite Baez starting every 2016 playoff game at second base.

"In a perfect world, everyone is well," Maddon said. "It's going to be tough to get him in there often enough at the beginning of the game. You probably see him there on most games we finish that we're winning.

"He'll be fine. The development will continue. He gets it. He's going to get plenty of at-bats before the season's over."

One likely scenario is that Baez enters games with a lead and Ben Zobrist will shift to left field for defensive purposes.

La Stella ailing: Infielder Tommy La Stella (left hamstring tightness) is listed as day to day. Maddon stressed he wants his players to "run hard but not take it to the next level" after wet weather last weekend limited their conditioning.

Caption Jason Heyward on level of comfort with new swing, support from Cubs

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward discusses his comfort level with his new swing and the support from the organization on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward discusses his comfort level with his new swing and the support from the organization on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Jason Heyward on level of comfort with new swing, support from Cubs

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward discusses his comfort level with his new swing and the support from the organization on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward discusses his comfort level with his new swing and the support from the organization on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Mike Montgomery on his expected role with Cubs, first exhibition start

Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery discusses his upcoming role with the team this season and reacts to his first exhibition outing in which he threw one scoreless inning on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery discusses his upcoming role with the team this season and reacts to his first exhibition outing in which he threw one scoreless inning on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Manager Joe Maddon on the Cubs' first games, at-bats and lineups

Manager Joe Maddon talks about the Cubs' first games, at-bats and lineups. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Manager Joe Maddon talks about the Cubs' first games, at-bats and lineups. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer on Pedro Strop's contract extension

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer discusses the contract extension of reliever Pedro Strop on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer discusses the contract extension of reliever Pedro Strop on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Joe Maddon on the Cubs' relay and bunt drills

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses Jason Heyward's progress as well as the team's relay and bunt drills on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses Jason Heyward's progress as well as the team's relay and bunt drills on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

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