Zastryzny to start Thursday's bullpen day

Zastryzny to start Thursday's bullpen day

CHICAGO -- Cubs rookie Rob Zastryzny will make his first Major League start on Thursday in the club's series finale against the Pirates at PNC Park. The Cubs, who have clinched the No. 1 seed in the National League, want to give the rest of the rotation a breather heading into the postseason and had scheduled Thursday as a bullpen day. Zastryzny, 24, will get things started.

The lefty was a combined 10-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) for Triple-A Iowa and Double-A Tennessee this season. He has pitched in relief for the Cubs.

In the final regular-season series, against the Red in Cincinnati, the Cubs will start Jason Hammel on Friday, Jon Lester on Saturday and Kyle Hendricks next Sunday.

Worth noting

• Sunday was the Cubs' final regular-season home game, and manager Joe Maddon said the time has flown by.

"It's been long and fast and furious," he said of the season, then recalled driving his RV "Fast Eddie" to Mesa, Ariz., and setting up for Spring Training. "It happens so fast. Here we are -- we've had ourselves a nice year. There's still work to be done."

The Cubs have secured home-field advantage through the National League Championship Series but are aiming at 100 wins.

Maddon isn't changing his approach and isn't worried about the Cubs' postseason history. As most Cubs fans know, the team hasn't won a World Series since 1908, and hasn't played in one since 1945.

"That's the way we're going to do this," Maddon said about focusing on today. "To worry about what's happened in the past and automatically project failure, I just can't go there. As we continue to move forward, you'll hear the same message: It's about today."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. 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.