Wells opened the Cubs' Cactus League season Thursday with two sharp innings in a 9-3 win over the Oakland Athletics. The right-hander, who won 12 games last season in his rookie year, got home runs from Derrek Lee, Marlon Byrd, Tyler Colvin, Brad Snyder and Sam Fuld.
"It was a good day all around for us," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
Wells did exactly what he set out to do.
"We talked before the game about attacking the zone and I was able to do that today," Wells said. "I had a good sinker going. I got some ground-ball outs and got away with a couple pitches, but it's the first start. I'm pretty happy."
Projected as the No. 3 starter, the right-hander apparently has done everything well this spring except for the eye test.
"I kind of botched the eye chart, not giving it a whole-hearted effort at 7 in the morning," Wells said. "I went to the eye doctor and she recommended I try the prescription out and immediately I saw results from reading and labels were brighter and signs on the road and I can see farther. It's not like I couldn't see the strike zone and I needed glasses."
Is he near-sighted or far-sighted? Wells didn't know. His vision, he said, is 20-30. Catcher Geovany Soto didn't tape his fingers to help Wells see the signs. The pitcher did order some prescription sports glasses and they have yet to arrive.
That's exactly how Piniella feels.
"I told him, 'Before you put the glasses on, let's try it without,'" Piniella said.
"I'm not going to wear them until I throw a couple bullpens and see if it helps," Wells said. "I can see fine. ... It's helped me with my day-to-day stuff. I never realized I had a vision problem. Like reading those signs [across the clubhouse], I can read them but when I put the glasses on, it's brighter and more bold. It's just an idea that maybe they'll help me pitching."
Certain stadiums that aren't as well lit did bother Wells last season. However, if he feels uncomfortable with glasses, he won't wear them. Kevin Gregg, who was the Cubs' closer last season, wore glasses in games and current teammate Angel Guzman has a pair. However, Wells is a little particular.
"[Guzman's] were a little big for me," Wells said. "I'd rather get small ones, less noticeable."
So, Wells could have a different look. He does need to work on giving hitters a different look, too. After the first inning, Byrd came into the dugout and told Wells he could tell when the right-hander was throwing his changeup.
"In the second inning, I worked on fixing that," Wells said. "That's what Spring Training is about is making adjustments and getting your work in."
His first pitch of the game to Oakland's Rajai Davis was a strike and then he got Davis to ground out on a sinker. Wells worked quickly and efficiently. It's a good start for the pitcher, who last spring, was usually finishing up games. How different is this camp from a year ago?
"You don't have to look for your name on the backup list to travel to Tucson any more," Wells said. "It's cool -- you know what you have to do, you know what work you have to get in. You get yourself prepared for the next start, you know when you're throwing."
Maybe he'll put in a bid for the Opening Day assignment?
"[Carlos Zambrano's] got that locked up," Wells said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less