Notes: Hart makes NLDS roster

Notes: Hart makes NLDS roster

PHOENIX -- Kevin Hart is in, and Will Ohman, Sean Marshall and Steve Trachsel are out.

The Cubs finalized their 25-man playoff roster for the National League Division Series, and decided to go with the rookie Hart on the 11-man pitching staff. The right-hander began the season at Double-A Tennessee, and also pitched at Triple-A Iowa.

"I was pretty excited," said Hart, who has a 0.82 ERA in eight games since being called up Sept. 4. "I get a chance to pitch in October, and it's something you dream about as a little kid. It's a lot more thrilling now when you look back on it than it was at the time. In May, it was the opposite. This is awesome. I'm kind of speechless right now."

The final 11 include starters Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Rich Hill and Jason Marquis, plus relievers Hart, Michael Wuertz, Kerry Wood, Scott Eyre, Carlos Marmol, Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster. Eyre is the only lefty in the pen.

"Our right-handed guys in the 'pen have great numbers against lefties," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "Wuertz gets lefties out, Howry gets lefties out, Marmol gets everybody out, so you don't have to match up left and right."

Marshall will pitch for the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., at their instructional league to get stretched out if the team advances to the next round of the playoffs, Hendry said.

Ohman was 2-4 with a 4.95 ERA in 56 games, while Trachsel was 1-3 with an 8.31 ERA in four starts in his return trip to the Cubs.

Zambrano will start Game 1 of the NLDS, followed by Lilly and Hill. If Game 4 is necessary in the best-of-five series, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Zambrano will likely start and Marquis would be skipped over.

"We're going to pitch Zambrano [on Wednesday], we're going to pitch Lilly on Thursday, Hill on Saturday and our plans basically are to bring Zambrano back on three days' rest," Piniella said. "If we need a fifth game, I've got Lilly on his regular turn. If anybody can pitch on three days' rest, we feel Carlos can."

However, Hendry said the first three starters are set, and the Cubs will wait and see about Game 4.

"You can't talk about Sunday before you have a first pitch yet," Hendry said. "We'll give you three starters now and then go."

Marquis was not aware of his status before Tuesday's workout at Chase Field.

"I have no idea," said the right-hander, who was 12-9 with a 4.60 ERA this year, his first with the Cubs. "I just prepare for a start."

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Being designated to the bullpen as the long man isn't the role Marquis would want for the postseason.

"My role all year has been a starter, and that's the way I've prepared and that's the way I feel most comfortable, but the decision isn't up to me," Marquis said.

Marquis was 6-4 with a 5.73 ERA after the All-Star break, including a 6.21 ERA in seven games in September. In his last outing Sunday against Cincinnati, he gave up four runs on four hits over two-thirds of an inning.

"It was just to get work," Marquis said of that outing. "Everybody who threw in the game other than Teddy [Lilly] was out of their normal role."

Marquis was left off the St. Louis Cardinals' postseason roster last year in the World Series. He'd love a chance to pitch in October with the Cubs.

"Of course -- if I didn't, I wouldn't be playing this game," Marquis said.

Roster, Part II: Besides the 11 pitchers, the Cubs also opted to keep infielders Mike Fontenot and Ronny Cedeno and outfielder Felix Pie. Outfielder Craig Monroe and catcher Henry Blanco did not make the final 25.

Hendry said Matt Murton was swinging the bat a little better than Monroe, and Pie was needed for his defense.

Daryle Ward, whose left wrist was questionable, was kept after a good batting practice session Tuesday at Chase Field.

"Throwing was decent -- it was a little painful to throw," Ward said. "If there's a situation where they need me at first, which I doubt -- [Derrek Lee] has been healthy all year -- it might be a problem. As long as I could go out and hit the ball, I felt like I was fine. I could hit in the cage, but I wanted to see how I could do on the field. I wanted to know what kind of hitter I'm going to be when I pinch-hit."

Backstop: Piniella announced his prospective lineup over the weekend, but left the catcher spot open. On Tuesday, he said rookie Geovany Soto will get the start in Game 1 over veteran Jason Kendall.

Soto, the MVP of the Pacific Coast League who wasn't called up until Sept. 1, has thrown out three of 11 basestealers while with the big league team, and will be tested by the speedy Diamondbacks. Kendall has thrown out two of 52 baserunners.

"It's been a long season, being down there [in the Minors] and hoping they call you up until September, and now it's October and I'm in the playoffs and it feels pretty good," Soto said.

MVP: Who's the Cubs' MVP this season? Lee paused for a long time before answering.

"It'd be tough," Lee said. "I'd flip a coin -- I'd give it to three guys, Aramis [Ramirez], Mark DeRosa and Carlos Marmol.

"Carlos really solidified our bullpen," Lee said. "'DeRo' has played so many different positions and played them well -- and that's huge for a team in versatility, and Aramis has been the most consistent hitter all year long."

Who would DeRosa give it to?

"I have a hard time not giving it to Aramis," DeRosa said. "He's one of the best clutch hitters in the game. But what Marmol did for us, it's tough not to say he's the MVP. Any time a team made a threat to get in a game, he got them out."

Curses: You'll hear and see plenty of talk about curses and how the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908, but the players don't care.

"All the curse talk and all that, it doesn't go on in the clubhouse," Lee said. "As a player, you don't think about it. It never even crosses your mind until you're asked the question. The confidence we have doesn't come from Lou coming in and saying there's no curse. It comes from coming together as a team, and winning tight ballgames, and winning comeback games, and winning different types of ways -- that develops confidence and I think we've showed we can win pretty much any type of game this year."

Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot isn't worried about what's happened in the past.

"We can't control what happened the last 100 years, or maybe the past five years," Theriot said. "We can control what happens this year.

"To win here and move on to the next round and win there would put us right where we want to be," he said. "The 100 years before that, that's for the fans. We want to win for the city of Chicago. We want that for them. I'm not that old, but I know there are people out there who have been Cub fans for awhile, and they deserve a championship club. Hopefully we can give it to them."

Whether the Cubs are underdogs or favored doesn't matter either.

"In this game, there are so many variables," Theriot said. "It's not like basketball -- [Michael] Jordan is going to score at least 40, and you can bank on it. There are so many variables -- a pitcher can get a blister, a bug might fly in his eye. You control what you control, and the rest just falls into place."

Quote of the day: "I don't think experience is a big deal. I didn't have any in '02 with the Giants. Robb Nen told me, it's just like the 'Hoosier' [movie] thing -- it's still 60 feet, 6 inches to the plate, it's still 90 feet to the bases. Crowds are going to boo you when you throw ball one, they're going to cheer you when you throw strike one. If someone gets a hit, it'll be run over and over again on TV. You have to forget it a little bit and think it's the same game." -- Eyre, on whether postseason experience matters.

Alum: When Wood makes an appearance, he will be the 20th player to appear for the Cubs in at least three different postseasons. The most recent members of the club were Stan Hack (four years) and Phil Cavarretta (three years) in 1945.

The list of players who appeared in four postseasons includes: Mordecai Brown, Frank Chance, Hack, Gabby Hartnett, Johnny Kling, Orval Overall, Jack Pfiester, Ed Reulbach, Charlie Root, Wildfire Schulte, Jimmy Sheckard, Harry Steinfeldt and Joe Tinker.

The list of players who appeared in three postseasons includes: Cavaretta, Frank Demaree, Johnny Evers, Billy Herman, Solly Hofman, and Billy Jurges.

Wood pitched in one game in 1998, and four in 2003, but all of those were starts.

Extra bases: Alfonso Soriano said his right quad is 100 percent physically, but he's going to be careful. "Mentally, I remember what happened in August with my leg," he said of the injury. "Now it's the playoffs, and I don't want to think about what happened in August and I want to try to play 100 percent with my leg." ... Zambrano has had some problems with cramping, but his personal trainer Frank Alvarez said he doesn't know why. "He drinks lots of fluids," Alvarez said. ... Angel Guzman underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and will spend the offseason rehabbing in Arizona at the Cubs facility. ... Tickets for a potential National League Championship Series will go on sale Thursday via the Internet at cubs.com and by telephone through Tickets.com. ... The Cubs played in front of more than six million fans over the season, totaling a franchise record 6,172,642 (3,252,642 home, 2,920,333 road). The previous high was 6,053,021 set in 2004.

On deck: Zambrano (18-13, 3.95 ERA) will start Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Wednesday against Arizona and Brandon Webb (18-10, 3.01 ERA).

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.