The Chicago Cubs will be starting the season with a smaller-than-usual pitching staff, as ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla reports that the team will be using just six relief pitchers in its bullpen at the beginning of the season. Most teams typically have seven pitchers in the bullpen, but Chicago is using an additional position player on the bench instead.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says that Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Rafael Dolis, James Russell, Shawn Camp and Lendy Castillo are all going to be in the team's Opening Day bullpen, leaving out right-handed pitcher Rodrigo Lopez. Hoyer suggested that Lopez will likely be used at some point soon, though.
The move is primarily caused by Chicago's claim of Blue Jays infielder Luis Valbuena off waivers on Wednesday. That gave the team 14 position players, but it appears that they're content having just 11 pitchers on the 25-man roster going into the season. The six-man bench certainly gives the Cubs additional flexibility in the lineup.