Montgomery, Anderson vie for Cubs fifth starter position

MESA, Ariz. -- The battle for the No. 5 spot in the Chicago Cubs' starting pitching rotation begins on Saturday when Mike Montgomery takes the mound in a Cactus League contest against the Oakland Athletics. But this isn't a traditional spring fight for a regular-season role, according to manager Joe Maddon.

In fact, Montgomery and newcomer Brett Anderson might both win the job.

"Neither one has really been stretched out anywhere close to 200 innings over the last couple of years, so we're thinking it's almost like a hybrid moment," Maddon explained. "Almost fold one back into the bullpen for a bit while the other one starts and vice versa. Or jump a sixth guy in there now and then to keep the other guys from being overworked too early."

Anderson has had an injury-plagued career, but he did make it to 180 innings as recently as 2015, pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Montgomery has never been a full-time starter in the majors.

"Watching them in camp will be somewhat important, but we have a pretty good feel about both of them," Maddon said.

The Cubs plan to back off the top four pitchers in their rotation, both in spring training and in the regular season, as they prepare to play another seventh-month season.

Utilizing at least six starters throughout the year is part of the overall plan.

"We feel fortunate if everyone stays healthy you have six guys that you like right there," Maddon said. "It's hard for anyone [else] to stay that."

Anderson will make his Cubs debut on Monday when the Cubs host the White Sox.

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Montgomery, Anderson vying for fifth spot in rotation
Montgomery, Anderson vying for fifth spot in rotation
Joe Maddon discusses what the Cubs plans are for the fifth spot in the rotation.
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