Outfield Scramble

Since star left fielder Alfonso Soriano will be on the shelf for at least a month with a tear in his right quadriceps, the Cubs will have to scramble.

But they have enough interchangeable parts to at least partially make up for Soriano's power and speed.

Cliff Floyd and Matt Murton can play left and right field. Angel Pagan can play all three fields. Infielder Mark DeRosa can play right field. And Jacque Jones can play center and right. The Cubs also brought up Eric Patterson (.299 with 14 homers in 111 games with Class AAA Iowa) to play left.

On Monday night against Houston, Murton started in left field, Pagan started in center and DeRosa in right.

"It's tough, it really is, but we have to step it up and do without him," manager Lou Piniella said of Soriano. "We can play a lot of different lineups here. We'll probably have more speed and can do different things with this.

"For instance, against a right-handed pitcher, we could put Patterson in left, Jones in center and Floyd in right. We can do different things. I'm just not exactly sure right now. Let's see it for a few days."

ASTROS 2, CUBS 1 (10 innings): The Cubs dropped four of their last five games and remained in second place in the NL Central with the loss at Minute Maid Park on Monday. Derrek Lee's groundout brought home Ryan Theriot in the fifth for the Cubs' lone run. Reliever Michael Wuertz had an 0-2 count on Ty Wigginton to open the 10th and walked him. Wigginton later scored on Eric Munson's single.

NOTES, QUOTES

--LHP Rich Hill, who pitched just 9 2/3 innings total in his previous two starts, allowed one run on three hits in seven innings in a no-decision against Houston on Monday.

--SS Ryan Theriot, who will get the bulk of the leadoff duty in place of injured OF Alfonso Soriano, had two doubles on Monday night.

--LF Alfonso Soriano will miss at least a month due to a tear in his right quadriceps muscle. Soriano hurt it on Sunday night running the bases and had an MRI on Monday morning. The Cubs will have a better timetable for his return in two weeks.

--2B/OF Eric Patterson was brought up from Class AAA Iowa to take the spot of Alfonso Soriano on the 25-man roster. Patterson, the younger brother of former Cubs center fielder Corey Patterson, is scheduled to play left field and bat second Tuesday against Houston. He hit .299 with Iowa with 14 homers and 62 RBIs in 111 games.

--RHP Wade Miller, who made three starts with the Cubs at the beginning of the year but had shoulder problems after that, was designated for assignment.


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