Cubs set rotation to start 2010
ESPNChicago.com Cubs blog
The latest news and notes on the Cubs. Blog
"The thing I'm happiest about is we sent nobody to the minor leagues," Piniella said. "They went from the rotation to the bullpen.
Piniella said Samardzija was hoping for a starting spot.
"He was a little disappointed," Piniella said. "He thought he had pitched well enough in spring training to stay in the rotation. I agreed with him. But unfortunately, we only have two spots.
"And then remember, [Ted] Lilly is ahead of schedule. In three weeks from now, we're going to have to make a decision again. With that in mind, let's put Marshall and Samardzija in places where they can help our baseball team."
Piniella said he's not concerned about his inexperienced relief corps. Four of the relievers -- right-handers Samardzija, Esmailin Caridad, Justin Berg and lefty James Russell -- have a combined 93 2/3 innings of major league experience, and 27-year-old Carlos Marmol enters a season as the closer for the first time. Left-handers Marshall and John Grabow round out the bullpen.
"Am I concerned about anything? Absolutely not," Piniella said. "I said coming into camp that I liked our team ... and nothing that I've seen in spring training makes me feel any different.
"Very young bullpen. The whole bullpen [aside from Marmol] is new from what we left here with last year. But we've got some really, really good arms in there. It's a bullpen that's got a chance to get better and better as the season goes on."
Piniella said if GM Jim Hendry can acquire a veteran reliever, Russell likely would go to the minors.
Piniella said Grabow and Caridad will be Marmol's primary setup men. Guzman had been expected to fill that role but sustained a possible career-ending shoulder injury.
Samardzija, Marshall, Silva and Gorzelanny each pitched well this spring, but Piniella said the fact that Samardzija and Marshall had past success as relievers factored into his choices.
While Lilly finishes rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery, Silva and Gorzelanny each will have two or three regular-season starts to win the No. 5 starter spot. Silva, acquired in the deal that sent outfielder Milton Bradley to Seattle, has two years and $25 million left on his contract. Gorzelanny arrived in a trade with Pittsburgh last July.
Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
CHICAGO TOP STORIES
- Majestic Men's Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo #44 Alternate Royal T-Shirt