Cubs close to naming Tuesday starter

Updated: April 15, 2011, 9:55 PM ET
By Bruce Levine |

DENVER -- Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade said he'll decide by Saturday who will pitch in the fifth starter's spot for Tuesday's game against the San Diego Padres.

The Cubs may stick with a tandem of right-hander Jeff Samardzija and left-hander James Russell or reach down to the minor leagues. Veteran right-hander Ramon Ortiz, who signed with the Cubs two weeks ago, is a possibility.

"I'm OK staying in-house. That's great," Quade said. "But if there is somebody down there [in the minors] that they feel could give us 90 pitches and have a chance to succeed, then I want to hear about it."

Quade said that he would talk to the team's Double-A and Triple-A managers, as well as the front office, before making his decision.

The Russell-Samardzija tandem struggled last Tuesday in an 11-2 loss to the Houston Astros. Russell got the start and allowed seven hits and five runs in 1 2/3 innings. He was followed by Samardzija, who gave up three hits and two runs in three innings.

Injuries to Randy Wells (right forearm strain) and Andrew Cashner (strained right rotator cuff), who are both on the disabled list, caused the rotation vacancy.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for and ESPN 1000.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.