[picappgallerysingle id="9443688"]Kerry Wood’s return to the Chicago Cubs opens up an entire new world for fellow hard-throwing Texan Andrew Cashner — and not just a potential shift into the rotation Wood’s bullpen presence will permit.
Cashner will need a new, more rigorous routine to prepare for the endurance test of starting after logging 100 and 111 innings total of pro pitching the past two seasons. He’ll need to be available to goose the total up to 170 0r 180 innings if he’s a 30-start-a-season full-timer.
For now, Cashner’s just resuming throwing and maintaining his usual off-season workout routine.
“It’s the same workout this year as last year,” he said. “It’s not really that much different. The way I’m preparing now, I’m prepared to start or relieve. I’m working my butt off. If they called me today and said I’m starting, I’d do my same workouts. I’ll probably throw a little more.”
Ah, but life will change as a starter. Take it from Ryan Dempster, the Cubs’ top workout fiend, who made the successful transition from closer to starter over the 2007-08 off-season.
“He’ll need to get his legs as strong as possible,” Dempster said. “Andrew’s got a good delivery, goes downhill. But he’ll need to be ready for the grind.”
To catcher Koyie Hill, a good handler of pitchers, the preparation for starting would take place, like, right now.
“These things you train for all off-season,” he said. “You train and train and train, it’s a focus from Day One of the off-season.”
No matter where Quade slots in Cashner, Dempster figures the Cubs are much better off with his presence, combined with Wood swooping in for the eighth inning.
“Either way, whether Cashner starts in spring training, it makes our starting rotation better,” he said. “The more competition, the better the staff is. Guys sign big deals, numbers decline, nobody’s pushing you. Andrew will be pushing someone else, and somebody will be pushing Andrew.”
And if he starts, Cashner will need to push himself like never before.