Sevum: Wood our only set-up man
When it comes to his bullpen setup men, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Tuesday there's only one: right-hander Kerry Wood.
MESA, Ariz. — The way manager Dale Sveum sees it, the Cubs have one setup man, not a left-handed setup man and a right-handed setup man.
"I think we have our setup guy in Kerry Wood," Sveum said Tuesday, referring to the veteran right-hander. "I think we're OK there. There's got to be a lot of confidence from me coming from that spot to take Kerry Wood out of a game because there is a lefty coming up.
"Those last three outs are the biggest of the game, and the three outs leading up to that are even bigger. And sometimes guys are just built different than other people as far as those outs. It's a whole other ballgame when you get to those last six outs."
Sveum said that in a perfect world, he'd like to have two left-handed relievers, "one specialist and one guys that can go 2 innings and get right-handers out."
Lefty James Russell bounced back from a poor run as an emergency starter last year and finished well out of the bullpen. He held left-handed batters to a .250 average, compared with .312 against righties. He figures to have the inside track on one job.
Scott Maine and John Gaub are other in-house options, but the Cubs will take a long look all spring at 38-year-old veteran Trever Miller, who pitched last season with St. Louis, Toronto and Boston.
Miller was traded in July by the Cardinals to Toronto. The Blue Jays released him before the Red Sox picked him up. Miller said he would have made the Red Sox' postseason roster, but Boston collapsed down the stretch. However, he will get a World Series ring from the world-champion Cardinals.
"I was pulling for those guys, especially when I'm sitting at home," Miller said. "Three years with a team is a long time, especially in my role. I usually don't get to stick around that long. I loved all those guys there."
In a camp devoid of position-player battles, Dale Sveum was asked if speedy Tony Campana would have to fight for a job.
"I don't know if that's the right word, but there's competition for the last couple spots, there's no question about it, as far as the position players go," Sveum said. "The backup catcher and the last two spots, the bench guys so to speak, there's a little competition there.
"For the most part, the position players are cut and dry but a couple spots. He (Campana) brings a lot. I've seen him win games just with his speed. That comes to play with 162 games when you're playing off the bench and spot starts."
Veteran Reed Johnson and Campana would seem to have the two backup outfield spots. The Cubs also have Dave Sappelt, whom they acquired with pitcher Travis Wood from the Reds in the Sean Marshall trade.
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