Baez's status to figure into final roster decision

Relievers ready after back-to-back outings

Baez's status to figure into final roster decision

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs have announced their rotation, but they have not finalized the rest of the roster because they're waiting to see how Javier Baez feels after missing one week of games with a sore left thumb.

"He came in and shook my hand this morning and wished me happy Easter, so I know he's feeling pretty good," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Sunday.

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If Baez isn't ready, the Cubs could keep versatile Munenori Kawasaki or outfielder Matt Szczur, who is out of options. The Cubs also are deciding whether to carry 12 or 13 pitchers.

Maddon liked Baez last spring, especially his defensive ability, but Baez didn't make the Opening Day roster because others in the front office felt he needed more seasoning.

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"I hadn't seen enough of him to make that call," Maddon said.

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Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Clayton Richard pitched in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday, and Maddon was pleased with the relievers' outings.

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"They need to feel that before you start the season," Maddon said. "The progression of all those guys has been really good."

Rondon said he peeked at the radar readings during Saturday's outing, and liked what he saw.

"I felt good, really good," Rondon said Sunday. "Yesterday, I knew I was ready [for the season]."

Justin Grimm gets three bats every spring for the season, and that's more than the reliever needs.

"I need one to hang on my wall," Grimm said.

Grimm has four career at-bats, including one against current teammate John Lackey on Aug. 31, 2014.

"He threw me a 50-foot curve, and I still swung over the top," Grimm said.

How much batting practice has Grimm taken this spring? Zero.

"I don't need to take BP," he said, smiling.

• Cubs players and coaches wore athletic shorts Sunday that one would see on high school football coaches, not on the baseball field. Maddon did this last year as a salute to coaches everywhere.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.