With the loss of Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, the Cubs were sent scrambling looking for rotation replacements. General Manager Jim Hendry ultimately decided on purchasing a BATA-2 pitching machine off Amazon rather than risk another minor league arm.

““It said right on the website it throws balls from 25 to 100 MPH with pinpoint accuracy and consistency,” Hendry said. “And that’s all we’re looking for.”

When questioned about the defensive problem it would create, Hendry said young shortstop Starlin Castro would play shallow and the change would “really help him work on his range.”

Castro also will be responsible for refilling the ball loader between batters.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts commended Hendry on his cost-effective decision.

“I’m paying enough starting pitchers who aren’t on the roster as it is,” said Ricketts. “So when Jim said it was this, which came with a 5-year limited warranty, or Silva, I was sold.”

The BATA-2 pitched 12 innings over two simulated games against the Cubs roster and finished with a 3.60 ERA, striking out eight and walking none. Manager Mike Quade expects BATA-2 to make its first start of the season Sunday in Milwaukee, batting eighth.

Article and Photoshop by Pat Lamorte