Piniella picks Silva, Gorzelanny for Cubs' rotation

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Lou Piniella announced this afternoon that Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva will begin the season in the Cubs’ rotation, with Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall both heading to the bullpen.
“Unfortunately, we only have two spots,” Piniella said, which is funny considering that one of those spots is going to a guy who went 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA over the past two seasons and the other is going to a guy with a 4.87 career ERA. “Only” seems like an odd choice of words.
Assuming no further setbacks in his recovery from shoulder surgery and a knee injury Ted Lilly is expected to join the rotation a couple weeks into the season, at which point the Cubs will presumably move Silva into long relief and demote a reliever to Triple-A.
For now left-hander James Russell is slated for the final bullpen spot, so he’d probably be first in line to get the boot, but if Samardzija struggles initially the Cubs may decide to begin grooming him as a starter again at Triple-A. “Samardzija fits in nice in the bullpen with a power arm,” Piniella said. “He’s done that job before, and from there he can gain experience to work his way into the rotation at some time in the future.”

Diamondbacks place Shelby Miller on the 10-day disabled list

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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.

Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.

Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.

Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.

Eric Thames hit two more homers

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And John Lackey is livid.

The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.

Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.

Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.