Farm system producing prospects
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The Cubs like the way they're growing them down on the farm these days.
The team finalized its 25-man roster Tuesday, and if things hold, 11 of those 25 will be from the farm system. That will include starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano, starting catcher Geovany Soto and starting shortstop Ryan Theriot.
Would the Cubs go as far as starting homegrown outfielder Tyler Colvin in right? Maybe not, but Colvin is on the roster.
General manager Jim Hendry praised scouting director Tim Wilken and farm director Oneri Fleita for the influx of Cubs-produced talent.
"We feel good about it," Hendry said. "I think this starts with 11 guys homegrown on the 25 and other at least another five or six that we acquired because of our homegrown prospects. That's what you want.
"I think we all know and the people in the baseball industry will tell you that that situation is even getting better for us. Timmy Wilken and Oneri have done an outstanding job the last three or four years. Our system has really started to be on the come of producing regular players."
One big challenge will be to find Colvin adequate playing time with Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome starting most days and veteran Xavier Nady also looking for playing time. In Tuesday's 5-3 victory over the Giants, Colvin was 2-for-4, with an RBI triple and a single.
"A lot of that will be up to Tyler, too," Hendry said. "As great as he's been, it's still spring training. I think there's a scenario where it will play itself out. Nobody can have too many good players. If we end up with five good outfielders, wouldn't that be great? Obviously, we're thrilled we have Nady. I think everybody would agree with that. (He is) a legit 5-hole guy who's going to start the season just playing a couple times a week and pinch hitting, which is good."
Pitching stays strong: Lefty Tom Gorzelanny enjoyed his longest outing of the spring, earning the victory with 7 innings pitched, allowing 8 hits and 3 runs. He didn't walk a batter while striking out two.
He gave up a 2-run homer to ex-Cub Mark DeRosa in the fourth. Gorzelanny is the Cubs' fifth starter.
"I still went out there trying to do good and trying to do my job," he said. "I don't think just because I got the job it means it's time to relax. That's when you, obviously, get into a lot of trouble. I just go out there to continue to get better, work on stuff and be ready to pitch well when the season starts."
Gorzelanny is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA. Carlos Marmol followed Gorzelanny into the game and worked 11/3 innings, giving up no hits and a walk. John Grabow earned his second save with two-thirds scoreless innings. He gave up 1 hit.
This and that: Carlos Zambrano faces the Angels pm Wednesday at HoHoKam Park. Minor-league prospect Jay Jackson faces the Brewers in Phoenix - Xavier Nady will play right field against the Angels. Chad Tracy starts at first base against the Brewers ... Lefty Ted Lilly threw 3 scoreless innings Tuesday in a minor-league game, throwing 45 pitches as he continues his rehab from shoulder surgery.