Rusch appears to be solid for the fourth spot in the rotation, but if Jerome Williams, who figures to be the No. 5 starter, continues to pitch well, that could change. The Cubs are thinking of going with a four-man rotation for the first two weeks of the season, and Rusch could be better suited as a long man the first two weeks than Williams would.
RHP Kerry Wood, who had arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday, could start throwing from a chair later this week, and the Cubs are hoping that he will be able to start throwing on flat ground from a standing position by the weekend or by early next week. The Cubs said the 20-minute procedure went well, but with any surgery the concern is potential infection.
OF John Mabry missed five games with a bad back but had a hit and a walk in his Cactus League debut Tuesday. Mabry was brought in as a
backup outfielder, but with the constant minor injuries suffered by 3B Aramis Ramirez, Mabry could see some time at that position as well.
C Jake Fox had a game-tying RBI single Wednesday. Fox, Jose Reyes, Geovany Soto and Dennis Anderson are among minor league catchers who are hoping to prove themselves while Michael Barrett and Henry Blanco are playing in the World Baseball Classic.
LHP Scott Eyre opened the Cactus League with a neck injury but pitched two scoreless innings on Sunday and Tuesday, striking out four
hitters in those appearances. Eyre, along with Bobby Howry, signed multiyear deals to hold leads for the Cubs. Last year, the Cubs lost 20
games when they were either leading or tied in the seventh inning.
BY THE NUMBERS: 41,118 -- Capacity of Wrigley Field after the new bleacher expansion. Last year, the park held 39,539.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't want to participate in this thing and be out in the first round. That would be, in my opinion, God-awful." -- Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, who will represent the United States in the
World Baseball Classic.