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gods-wrath2Yes, the Cubs have stunk with a capital F over the last week, losing five of six. But it’s not as though they’ve been playing full strength. that is, of course, not an excuse – it just helps me sleep at night.

So how are the hundreds of injured Chicago Cubs doing? First up, the injuriest of the injured, Milton Bradley.

Right fielder Milton Bradley, the Cubs’ Opening Day cleanup hitter who has made only one start since suffering a strained groin April 12 in Milwaukee, struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance Monday and is expected to start tonight. CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

It will be nice to have Bradley back in the lineup, but of course, that’s no guarantee that he’ll (a) hit, or (b) remain in the lineup for more than a few innings.

Aramis Ramirez is probably the second most injured, but he’s also expected back soon.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez (strained calf), whose absence has eliminated the Cubs’ infield depth, originally was considered possible for tonight but will be pushed back at least one more day, Piniella said after the game.

So that leaves Wednesday’s finale in Arizona as a possible return date for Ramirez.

As for top reliever Carlos Marmol, he appears ready to go.

Relief ace Carlos Marmol, who has been sidelined since twisting a knee Friday, threw a full-speed bullpen session and said he felt ”100 percent.” He expects to be ready to pitch tonight, if needed.

”He was absolutely perfect,” Piniella said. ”We just want to make sure that there’s no discomfort [today] or any swelling. If there isn’t, he’ll be able to go.”

And lastly, there’s first baseman Derrek Lee:

First baseman Derrek Lee said the bulging disc in his neck that flared up again Sunday had subsided some, but he probably won’t return before Wednesday.

Lee’s bat is probably the most easily replaced of the three, but his defense – and the depth he allows on the bench – is not. Hopefully all three of Bradley, Ramirez and Lee will be back on Wednesday.

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