Wells could be pitching for his spot

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade announced his rotation for the weekend series against the Houston Astros: Carlos Zambrano will pitch Friday followed by Randy Wells on Saturday and Matt Garza on Sunday.

The Cubs have off days on Thursday and Monday so they will skip fifth starter Rodrigo Lopez for now. He will be available in the bullpen over the next week.

The next two outings for Wells, who has struggled after returning to the rotation, may be crucial to keeping his spot in the rotation.

"He needs to make progress," Quade said. "I need to see him pitch like he has in the past. I'm hoping for as good an outing as we've seen from him."

Wells, who was on the disabled list for seven weeks with a right forearm strain, has just one win in 10 starts with a 6.71 ERA. What has been more of a concern is that Wells has averaged just over five innings per outing.

  • Closer Carlos Marmol might be back in the role on Wednesday as the Cubs try to win their series against the Philadelphia Phillies."There's a chance Carlos could come back [and close Wednesday]," Quade said. "We wanted to stay away from him [Tuesday]. He did a lot of weight work but we decided to stay away from him [Tuesday]. We are in a situation now where we will see how he feels. But we could see him [Wednesday] barring something crazy."

    Quade's bullpen has been getting worn out. On Tuesday Sean Marshall was Quade's closer, and he was extended two innings and 37 pitches which makes it unlikely that he will be used Wednesday. Quade said the only other consideration is Kerry Wood for the closer role on Wednesday, but Wood has been wildly erratic since coming back from an infected right forefinger.