News and Notes

Michael Barrett and Kent Mercker speak about their June 23 ejection in St. Louis; Kyle Farnsworth comments on three straight wins in relief; Rey Ordonez in tears.

--SS Alex Gonzalez took batting practice for the first time since breaking his wrist on May 5. He hopes to head to a minor league rehab stint in the next week or two.

--RHP Jon Leicester had a streak of nine straight scoreless innings snapped when he allowed a seventh-inning home run to Craig Biggio on Wednesday.

--RHP Todd Wellemeyer (lower shoulder pain) made his first rehab start for Class AAA Iowa on Tuesday night and threw a shutout inning. Two nights later, he tossed two scoreless innings in a second rehab start.

--RHP Kerry Wood is scheduled to move on to a minor league rehab start Tuesday night at Iowa. Wood has tendinitis in his right triceps and hasn't pitched since mid-May.

--RHP Ryan Dempster could return to Class AAA Iowa to continue his rehab program. Dempster had Tommy John surgery in August but has been feeling back pain recently.

--RF Sammy Sosa started as a designated hitter on Saturday (June 26) and Sunday (June 27) for the first time since July 15, 1989, when he was with the Texas Rangers. He went 2-for-7 with two homers and four RBI.

--LHP Kent Mercker and C Michael Barrett, two of the more low-key players on the Cubs' roster, were thrown out of a June 23 game against St. Louis by umpire Sam Holbrook.

Mercker was angry during the 10-9 loss because he thought he struck out Reggie Sanders in the seventh inning. Holbrook saw it differently and called a ball to keep the at-bat alive. Sanders doubled to keep the inning going, and the Cardinals knotted the game at 9-9 after the Cubs enjoyed a brief 9-5 lead.

"I usually don't get emotional on the mound," Mercker said. "I've never been thrown out of a game for arguing balls and strikes. But that was a heat-of-battle thing."

Added Barrett: "I was trying to get in between the umpire and Mercker in that situation. It was just massive confusion. Before I knew it, both of us were thrown out of the game. It was a frustrating night for both sides.

"I hated to show my tail like that, but I didn't feel like either Mercker or I deserved to be thrown out. I thought he threw me out (at first), and that's why I reacted like I did. I hate that it unfolded that way. But I have to just live with it and learn from it and move on."

--RHP Kyle Farnsworth, a setup man who lost his first three decisions, went 3-0 in a four-appearance stretch from June 15-22. "I would rather look at it as the team got the wins," Farnsworth said. "I just happened to be there when we got the runs."

BY THE NUMBERS: 590 -- Career starts Greg Maddux made before facing the White Sox for the first time in his career on Sunday (June 27).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The guys made some nice plays, I tried to screw it up and the guys came back anyway." -- Pitcher Greg Maddux, who did not get a decision after the Cubs beat St. Louis 5-4 on June 22.

ROSTER REPORT

PITCHING TRENDS: Through 74 games, Cubs relievers had walked 105 batters in 207 1/3 innings and the starters had walked 138 in 463 1/3.

PITCHERS TO WATCH:

--RHP Mark Prior doesn't have his best stuff back after sitting out two months with an injury, but he is still 2-1 with a 3.28 ERA after five starts and his pitch count is up to 99.

--RHP Jon Leicester allowed no runs on two hits in seven innings in three relief appearances against Anaheim, St. Louis and the White Sox.

--LHP Kent Mercker is once again the lone southpaw in the bullpen after the Cubs designated Jimmy Anderson for assignment on June 18 and placed Mike Remlinger on the DL with shoulder tendinitis.

LINEUP LOWDOWN: Three times last week, Cubs baserunners were deked by opposing fielders and were thrown out on the basepath.

POSITION PLAYERS TO WATCH:

--2B Todd Walker hit .387 in a 15-game stretch heading into this week but is still sharing time with Mark Grudzielanek, who returned from an Achilles tendon injury.

--RF Sammy Sosa tried his hand at being the designated hitter and was 2-for-7 with two homers in two games against the White Sox. Since the Cubs have no more road interleague games, he returns to right field for the rest of the season.

--SS Rey Ordonez, who was upset to the point of tears after a June 24 game in which he hit into a double play in the top of the fourth and made an error that allowed four runs in the bottom of the inning, needed a quick recovery. Veteran Ricky Gutierrez is at Triple-A Iowa and is hoping for a call-up.

MEDICAL WATCH: LHP Mike Remlinger (shoulder tendinitis) returned to the 15-day disabled list and hopes to be back after the team returns from the All-Star break. RHP Joe Borowski (torn right rotator cuff) was placed on the 15-day disabled list June 6 and could be out until August. RHP Todd Wellemeyer (strain in his lower right shoulder) has been throwing off the mound in bullpen sessions. RHP Kerry Wood was placed on the 15-day disabled list, backdated to May 12, because of tightness in his right triceps. He is making bullpen sessions and facing hitters. SS Alex Gonzalez suffered a broken right wrist and could be gone until August. He is on the 60-day disabled list and began light infield drills last week. RHP Ryan Dempster (Tommy John surgery last October) is on the 60-day disabled list. After one appearance for Triple-A Iowa, Dempster experienced back pain and is making bullpen sessions with the parent club.

Editor's note: This week's content from the Sports Xchange was delivered late to our network. As such, we apologize for the delay. Most of the information you see has been updated from its original format.

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