Jeff Stevens got as far as “downtown Chicago,” as he put it this morning, before the Cubs called him and told him to stay put. They officially recalled him this morning as they put center fielder Reed Johnson on the DL with his broken left foot.
For today, the Cubs will go with 13 pitchers on the roster. Center fielder Sam Fuld is on his way to Chicago. He’ll board the charter for Florida tonight to be called up from Iowa for tomorrow’s opener of a three-game series against the Marlins.
Johnson said he feels pain more toward the arch of the foot, even though he fouled a pitch off the top of his foot yesterday, breaking a bone. He also said he hopes to be back in less than one month.
The Cubs’ focus before tomorrow’s trading deadline is still a lefty reliever. GM Jim Hendry said Johnson’s injury won’t necessarily force the Cubs to go get a right-handed hitting center fielder.
“I talked to the doctors today,” Jim said. “I don’t think anybody thinks it’s going to be 30 days now. It may be 15 days, what we’re hoping for. We’ve got some good people at Iowa. Fuld, even though he’s left-handed. You don’t want to start overrating the left-right thing for an extra outfielder. We’re going to be facing a lot more right-handed pitching the next week or so than left.
“Off the top of your head, name me all the right-handed hitting center fielders that could really help that are better than we have right now that might be available. Willie’s not playing anymore.”
Willie, of course, is Willie Mays.
In general, Jim says the trade talk has heated since last night, if ever so slightly.
“We didn’t have much action the day before yesterday or yesterday,” he said. “Last night, some of the people we had been calling all of a sudden called back, and they were maybe looking at things a little differently. From an optimistic side, we might be able to do something by tomorrow. Some of the people we’ve inquired about, unfortunately, other people also want. It makes sense for what they’re trying to do, too.
“We had a lot more calls last night and today than we had the two days before that.”
The Cubs are not looking to find a platoon partner for Milton Bradley. They say they like the way he’s coming around at the plate.
Jim Hendry added that Geovany Soto could be back by the Colorado series next weekend, if not perhaps by the series before that, in Cincinnati.