Inside Pitch: Cubs

The Sports Xchange offers up detailed notes, quotes and more on the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs' starting rotation will get a tweak in the coming days and then another adjustment soon after that.

Manager Dale Sveum said Friday that right-hander Jeff Samardzija will be pushed back one day, from Monday night's series finale in Philadelphia to Tuesday's series opener at Cincinnati.

Right-hander Chris Volstad will slip into Samardzija's spot and start Monday against the Phillies. With Thursday's off day, that puts Volstad on his regular rest while giving Samardzija one extra day of rest.

The plan is to take it a bit easy on Samardzija, in his first full year as a starting pitcher in the major leagues.

"It's just going to benefit him in the long run," Sveum said.

Samardzija has been effective, going 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA. He has eight walks and 25 strikeouts in 24 innings.

The Cubs also are scheduled to get No. 1 starter Ryan Dempster off the disabled list Thursday for the series finale in Cincinnati. Dempster has been out with a right quad strain.

The odd man out when Dempster comes back figures to be right-hander Randy Wells, who starts Saturday at Philadelphia. Wells, a mainstay of the rotation the last couple of years, opened the season at Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa. He could either return to Iowa or go to the Cubs' bullpen as a long man.

"We'll make those decisions when they come up," Sveum said.

--RHP Ryan Dempster threw a bullpen session and ran Friday as he prepares to come off the disabled list Thursday at Cincinnati. Dempster has been on the DL, retroactive to April 18, with a right quad strain. "The bullpen and running went great," said manager Dale Sveum. Dempster has been a hard-luck pitcher in the early going. He's 0-1 but has an ERA of 1.33 in three starts, all of them quality starts.

--RHP Kerry Wood threw 25 pitches in the bullpen Friday and is set to do a simulated game Monday as he looks to come off the disabled list. Wood went on the DL on April 20, retroactive to April 14, with what the Cubs said was "right shoulder fatigue." At first, the Cubs had indicated a quick return for Wood, but manager Dale Sveum raised a few eyebrows recently when he said Wood likely wouldn't come off the DL when his 15 days were up. It's possible Wood could come off the DL on Thursday if the Cubs don't deem another simulated game necessary.

--LHP Paul Maholm evened his record to 2-2 and lowered his ERA from 8.36 to 6.20 with his second straight strong start. Maholm beat the Reds 6-1 on April 21 with six innings of four-hit, one-run ball. Against the Phillies on Friday, he tossed 6 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and one run. He settled down after a 21-pitch first inning, during which he gave up hits to the first two batters.

"Paulie was once again commanding his fastball," manager Dale Sveum said. "Sometimes he loses sight that he's really a sinkerball pitcher, but that's what he is, and he used it."

--3B Ian Stewart started at third base and went 1-for-4 with an RBI double. Even though Stewart is batting only .179, look for manager Dale Sveum to run him out there every day. "Nobody else is playing," said manager Dale Sveum. INF Jeff Baker can play third base, but he's a platoon player who starts against left-handed pitchers and mostly as the backup first baseman. Stewart was 1-for-20 on the recent homestand. Sveum noted that Stewart is a streaky hitter who needs to gain some consistency.

--CF Tony Campana picked up two singles, including a bunt single in the fourth inning, and scored two runs. Since the trade of Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox on April 21, the speedy Campana has started four games, going 5-for-15 with three runs scored and three stolen bases.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Career victories and saves for RHP Rafael Dolis. He earned his first major league victory Monday against St. Louis and his first career save Friday at Philadelphia, working two scoreless innings and giving up one hit.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a tie game, just trying to get on base. I got a decent one down and was able to get underneath the first baseman." -- CF Tony Campana on bunting for a hit, making him the first baserunner for the Cubs on Friday against Roy Halladay with one out in the fourth inning.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

--RHP Ryan Dempster (strained right quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 18. He might be able to return as soon as he is eligible.

--RHP Kerry Wood (right shoulder fatigue) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 14. He had a cortisone shot April 18, and he could go on a minor league rehab assignment before being activated. There is no timetable for his return.

--RHP Marcos Mateo (ulnar neuritis in right arm) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4.


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