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Lopez unfazed by competition

Competing for a spot on yet another major league roster is nothing new for Rodrigo Lopez. The journeyman starter is in a battle with at least eight other pitchers for five spots coming out of spring training.

The 36-year-old allowed two runs on six hits in his three innings of work on Thursday against Colorado.

”I threw a lot of pitches, but I was pretty satisfied with the pitches I made when I got behind in the count,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s most notable blemish was a two-run home run to Wilin Rosario in the second inning.

”I made probably too many pitches, but the strike zone was a little smaller today,” Lopez said. “The last inning I made an adjustment to get more into the game -- I had a better feel for it.”

Three spots remain open in the rotation although Chris Volstad, Jeff Samardzija, Paul Maholm and Randy Wells appear to be ahead of the wily veteran.

“This is nothing new to me,” Lopez said. ”But I want to make the rotation. That is my goal”

The Cubs traded for Lopez last spring then recalled him from Triple-A Iowa on June 14. He ended the season with a 6-6 record and a 4.42 ERA. The team re-signed him to minor league contract in early January.

Manager Dale Sveum is not counting Lopez out of the competition – at least not yet.

”This guy is a veteran guy who can move the ball all around, “ Sveum said. “His breaking ball looks like it is back. That was his forte when he was with Baltimore having those good years .He had one of those sliders that hitters just couldn’t pick up.”

Lopez has eight years major league experience. He has been in baseball since 1993 having played for six big league clubs.