The Cubs need a win today against the Pirates to avoid the sweep and salvage a reasonable chance for a winning record over this eminently winnable 9-game stretch. A loss today means the Cubs would have to sweep the Astros just to go 5-4 over this stretch.
- Matt Garza is eligible to be activated on June 3 for a theoretically important series against the division-leading Cardinals. At present, the Cubs expect that to happen, and don’t expect him to need a rehab start.
- Randy Wells felt good after his start yesterday – that is to say, he felt good physically, if not good about the result. “I felt pretty good actually,” Wells said. “[But] I nibbled, maybe [I was] kind of timid to go out there and cut it loose and go after guys.”
- If you were wondering why (righty) Reed Johnson and (righty) Jeff Baker didn’t play yesterday against (lefty) Paul Maholm, it’s because they’re still ailing. Neither is quite hurt enough to need a stay on the disabled list, and both are close to returning, but Johnson’s back and Baker’s groin are giving them, and the Cubs, fits (Update on Johnson here. He’s headed to the disabled list). Two of the most productive players over the last month, the Cubs could really use both Johnson and Baker back.
- Speaking of coming back: Geovany Soto finished his rehab assignment with AA Tennessee yesterday, going 0-7 over two days. Smokies manager Brian Harper said Soto’s offense isn’t quite there, but he looked good. He’s expected to rejoin the Cubs today, with Welington Castillo heading back to AAA.
- The Cubs hope Casey Coleman will straighten out his command issues at AAA Iowa, and then be back later in the season. I take it that means (1) they’d rather have a young guy like Coleman in the rotation than a fill-in like Rodrigo Lopez or Doug Davis, and (2) they don’t expect Andrew Cashner back in the rotation for a long time (if he comes back to the rotation at all).