We’ll come back with Mike Quade’s pregame and other news, but the Cubs today will put left fielder Alfonso Soriano on the 15-day DL with a strained left quad. They’ll activate Tyler Colvin for tonight’s game. It was good to see Marlon Byrd tonight. He rejoined his teammates and was on the field during batting practice. He'll talk with us in the morning.
At Class AAA Iowa, Colvin had a hitting line of .260/.283/.500. He was 13-for-50 with 1 homer, 8 RBI, 2 walks and 13 strikeouts.
As far as Matt Garza goes, the Cubs likely will give him two sessions of throwing off the mound, Wednesday and once in St. Louis. He could make his first start off the DL as early as next Monday at Cincinnati. The rotation for the weekend in St. Louis looks like Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells and most likely Carlos Zambrano coming back on normal rest after starting tonight against the Astros.
Manager Mike Quade went through every nickname in the book during one short span in today's pregame. We got: Lopey (Rodrigo Lopez), Dougie, Samardz, 'Bow (John Grabow, a new one), Russ, Cassie, Campy, Colv, Sori, Fuke and Snyds. Quade even referred to Astros manager Brad Mills as "Millsie."
Here is Q talking about getting Colvin playing time: “Colvin will be involved, for sure. I thought Blake had a really good game. He was over-hustling, if that’s possible, on his (misplay). He’s so enthusiastic out there. He’s still got some things to learn out there. He swung the bat well. He made a great throw home. Colvin will play tomorrow. I just don’t know where. He and Campy. Blake will be involved. Obviously, Monty, especially against left-handers. Snyds. We’ll mix and match. Fuke’s done a real good job in right. We will probably try to leave him there. I’m not beyond playing Colv in center. I’m going to give Campy a day. Some of the kids that we’re counting on down the road are going to get opportunities, and we’re going to see that they get some.”
Q said he moved Ramirez down to fourth and Pena up to cleanup to for left-handed, right-handed balance.
“It wound up happening by accident yesterday because I wanted to get Blake in the game, where I had three left-handers in a row," he said. "Millsie’s only got one left-hander in his pen. So this is as strategic as anything. I just didn’t want to give him the option of not having Rami split up the left-handers.”
He added we may see this more often when the Cubs face a right-hander. They're going against Houston's Jordan Lyles tonight, and he's making his major-league debut.
You may remember catcher Welington Castillo. He got a non-look-see with the Cubs while Geovany Soto was on the DL. In his first game back with Class AAA Iowa, Castillo went 2-for-5 with his third homer. Ramon Ortiz got the win working 8 innings and giving up 6 hits and 3 earned runs while walking three and striking out three. He’s 3-2 with a 4.55 ERA. Marquez Smith was 2-for-5 with 2 doubles. Esmailin Caridad earned his third save.
Brett Jackson went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts in his return to the lineup for Class AA Tennessee in a 4-3 loss to Huntsville. Jackson had been out with a hand injury. That might have cost him a call-up with Soriano’s injury. Blake Lalli hit a pair of homers, giving him 6 for the season. Marwin Gonzalez extended a hitting streak to 12 games.
Class A Daytona had the day off. Peoria (A) got a homer from Matt Szczur for the second straight game. Those were Szczur’s first 2 pro home runs. Szczur has a line of .343/.409/.460 with 2 homers, 14 RBI, 15 walks and 11 strikeouts. Also in yesterday’s game, Ryan Cuneo was 4-for-5 with 2 doubles. Lefty Cam Greathouse was all over the place, working 2.2 innings and giving up 1 hit and 0 earned runs. He walked six and struck out six.