Chicago Cubs third baseman, and Obi Won Kenobi-style only hope, Aramis Ramirez is expected to begin taking live batting practice this Friday.

“Once we get to that stage, it’s just a matter of when he goes out for a rehab assignment,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said of Ramirez. “He’s going to have to go out and play and get some at-bats. It’s been too long a time.”

The first step is live batting practice. Ramirez has been able to handle soft toss.

“He’s feeling much better, and he’s been working and we can start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel with this thing,” Piniella said.

As we said previously, getting Ramirez back before the All-Star break is a stretch at this point.