MESA, Ariz. _ Things are beginning to sort themselves out. The Cubs outslugged the Rox 9-8 today, and a few things are becoming clearer. Chad Gaudin started even though he's in the mix for a bullpen spot. He gave up 2 hits and 2 runs (1 earned) in 2 innings. An error by Aaron Miles in the second extended that inning. Gaudin's WHIP (walks plus hits per 1 inning pitched) is a feverish 2.14.
Jeff Samardzija didn't help his cause for winning a major-league bullpen spot. He pitched 1 inning, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs while walking one. His ERA is at 9.75.
"He was trying to overthrow the ball," Lou said. "Larry (pitching coach Rothschild) went out there. He was really flying open with his front shoulder. Kept the ball up. Makes your arm drag through the throwing motion a little bit. The ball was up. Again, there's competition. All these appearances now have a little bit more of a meaning.
"It's getting close. It's getting close to the point where we got to get guys in roles, yeah."
Gaudin is out of minor-league options, and he's making $2 million. He would appear to be safe, unless the Cubs trade him. The Cubs are on the hook for $4 million for Luis Vizcaino. He might be harder to deal.
The numbers game might be catching up with Rule 5 guy David Patton, who worked his second straight day today. He lowered his ERA to 0.93 with a scoreless inning.
"The young man throws strikes," Lou said. "Obviously, he's not intimidated. I tell you what, he's having fun, and he's certainly not backing away from the challenge. In a normal year, the way he's pitched, you would really, really like his chances. But here, there are numbers here. There's some depth here. Let's let that decision go the final couple days and see where it goes."
Lou says he has not made up his mind on the closer yet. Kevin Gregg worked his second staight day today and got the win in relief. He still has an 0.00 ERA. Carlos Marmol likely will go back to back Thursday-Friday.
At the plate, Milton Bradley hit his second homer of the spring. He's batting .467 (14-for-30) with a .500 OBP.
Kosuke Fukudome will take batting practice before Thursday night's game against the Giants and get into the lineup Friday, where Lou likely will hit him second.