Notes and Quotes: Baker Explains Murton Demotion

It wasn't easy for the Cubs to send Matt Murton down to Triple-A Iowa on Friday.

After all, he was hitting .339 since coming up on July 8 and the rookie showed promise. But the Cubs needed a spot on the roster with the return of Jerry Hairston Jr. and Murton is heading to Iowa with the idea that he will be back up in September, when the rosters can expand to 40.

"I explained to him that, 'Hey, man, you've done nothing wrong. You've done everything right that you ask a young man to do for limited action,'" Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He'll be back. He's going to Triple-A, and he'll just take what he's learned here and keep improving on his game. It's a numbers game."

Murton primarily faced lefties in his time on the major league level. He hit his first major league home run on Monday against Houston.

Kerry Wood pitched eight shutout innings in his first seven relief appearances before giving up a run Saturday at Colorado.

Nomar Garciaparra, who left Wednesday's game against Houston with a tight lower back, hoped that Thursday's off day would allow him a shot at starting Friday. But he wasn't able to start against Colorado on Friday or Saturday.

RHP Jermaine Van Buren, who tied a Triple-A Iowa record for most saves in a season with 22, is making a bid to join the parent squad during September call-ups. The Cubs have not yet decided if he will be promoted.

Jeromy Burnitz, who hit .143 in his previous 13 games, batted seventh in the lineup on Wednesday against Houston. It was the fifth time he had batted there this year after primarily batting fourth, fifth or sixth.

Carlos Zambrano, who left his previous two starts with back tightness threw 8 1/3 innings in Wednesday night's game against Houston. He also hit his fourth career home run, a solo shot in the third.

Greg Maddux was 16th on the all-time win list with 315 career victories after Tuesday night's win over Houston. Phil Niekro is 15th with 318. Maddux also became the first Cubs pitcher to win 10 games this year. It's the fourth time in his Cubs career he was the first on the staff to reach double digits.

BY THE NUMBERS: 30,175 -- Coors Field crowd on Aug. 20 -- the lowest Coors Field crowd for a Cubs-Rockies contest.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think anyone wants to face him right now." -- Cubs C Henry Blanco on converted reliever Kerry Wood.

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