Chicago Cubs searching for effective bullpen lefties

Unless something really unexpected happens, the Cubs won't have a left-hander in the starting rotation.

Will they have any effective lefties in the bullpen? Too soon to tell, but there are positive developments.

Lefty Brad Wieck made his spring debut with a perfect inning in Monday's 4-4 exhibition tie against the White Sox. It's been a long road back for Wieck after missing almost all of last season with knee and hamstring injuries. His late start to the spring was due to another hamstring tweak.

During his pregame Zoom call with reporters, manager David Ross raved about how Wieck has been throwing in camp.

"Brad has looked really good in live BPs," Ross said. "Some really bad swings for guys that are swinging the bat well in some live BPs. I'm anxious to see him face other opponents. He's put a lot of work in the offseason. I think he's in a good spot."

Wieck, a 6-foot-8 native of Amarillo, Texas, joined the Cubs during the 2019 season in the Carl Edwards Jr. trade with San Diego. He recorded 18 strikeouts in 10 innings that season, but in his first appearance of 2020 against Milwaukee his knee buckled on a follow-through and he didn't return.

Another left-hander who has joined the mix is Rex Brothers. A 32-year-old veteran who has pitched for Colorado and Atlanta, Brothers was ineffective in three appearances for the Cubs last season.

This spring, though, Brothers has yet to allow a run in 5 innings. He has struck out five and given up 2 hits.

"Rex has looked really good," Ross said. "I threw him in the fire (Sunday) early on, really tough portion of the lineup from the Angels, I thought he looked really good. Everything's been around the zone; he's throwing strikes.

"That's really the only issue he's had in his career, I think, is being around the plate. That hasn't even been a blip on the radar this spring training. (Throwing) 95-97 with a really good breaking ball, mixed his looks up, held the runner good yesterday. He's looked really good."

Another left-hander who figures to be part of the Cubs' bullpen, Andrew Chafin, hasn't been as sharp, with a 6.75 ERA in 4 innings. Lefthander Kyle Ryan started the spring on the COVID list and hasn't pitched in an exhibition game yet.

• Pinch hitter Patrick Wisdom belted a one-out home run to left in the top of the ninth inning to salvage a 4-4 tie against the White Sox. The homer came off new Sox closer Liam Hendriks.

With many of the Cubs' regulars sitting out, David Bote collected 2 doubles and an RBI. Jake Marisnick contributed an RBI single.

Cubs starter Alec Mills gave up 3 runs in 3 innings, with 6 hits and 3 walks. His spring ERA fell to 4.91. Reliever Ryan Tepera made his spring debut and gave up a run on 3 hits.

Second baseman Nico Hoerner was scratched from Sunday's game with a sore back, but Ross said he will be back in the lineup soon and wanted to play Monday.

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