Making it Count

Todd Walker hit two home runs in as many games on Sunday and Monday and entered Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers hitting .455. But he's still not in line to be an everyday starter.

Walker will start mostly against right-handers and will get a majority of the starts at second base, but the Cubs will also use Jerry Hairston Jr. and Neifi Perez.

Although it's not an ideal situation for Walker, he is accepting it.

"I've got a short leash, so I have to take advantage of every possible thing I can," he said. "It's going well so far.

"When you swing the bat well, you want to be in there every day. Relaxing (on non-starting days) is the main thing. And when you get back in there, don't try to do too much right away. That's the most important thing."

REPLAY: The Cubs' starting pitching remained sharp against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. One night after Greg Maddux allowed one run over eight innings, Carlos Zambrano came up with a gem in which he allowed one run over six innings.

But it all went for naught as the Cubs' offense was unable to get on track and the Dodgers picked up a ninth-inning run for a 2-1 victory over Chicago. The Cubs walked seven hitters, but it didn't haunt them until the ninth inning, when Will Ohman walked Kenny Lofton, who eventually came home on a J.D. Drew single.


--LHP Will Ohman, who entered Tuesday's action with a 23.63 ERA, picked up two quick outs in the ninth inning against the Dodgers, but he got in trouble when he walked Kenny Lofton. Lofton stole second, and J.D. Drew singled him home, handing Ohman (1-1) the loss. Ohman has given up eight runs in his last four appearances, covering 1 2/3 innings, and that is a concern for manager Dusty Baker.

--RHP Carlos Zambrano, who had a preseason goal of winning the Cy Young Award, is still winless after four appearances. He pitched well enough on Tuesday night (one run in six innings) against the Dodgers, but he left the game with the score tied at 1-1.

--SS Neifi Perez was given the nod over starter Ronny Cedeno on Tuesday night because manager Dusty Baker believed Perez could attack sinkerballer Derek Lowe better than the younger Cedeno. Perez drove in a run on a fielder's choice.

--3B Aramis Ramirez entered Tuesday's action hitting just .189, but manager Dusty Baker is confident Ramirez will snap out of it after hitting three bullets for outs on Monday night. Baker believes Ramirez is seeing the ball well and those hot shots will start to fall.

--RHP Wade Miller, who underwent shoulder surgery last September, could soon begin to throw batting practice. The Cubs hope he can return in mid May.

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