Cubs Glad to Have Soriano Back

The Cubs believe their universe got back to some semblance of order Wednesday when they activated left fielder Alfonso Soriano off the disabled list. He'd been out six weeks with a broken left hand.

"Just the energy he brings to a team," second baseman Mark DeRosa said before the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks 10-6.

More important than energy, Soriano gives the Cubs a potent bat at the top of the order, with the threat to go ahead 1-0 with a leadoff homer.

Soriano played in two rehab games this week in Arizona and said he felt no pain in his hand, which was broken by a pitched ball on June 11.

DeRosa, who had played mostly left and right field in Soriano's absence, moved back to second base. Shortstop Ryan Theriot moved down from leadoff to No. 2 in the batting order. Right fielder Kosuke Fukudome, who had been batting second, dropped down to No. 6, largely because the Diamondbacks threw lefty Doug Davis at the Cubs.

Look for Fukudome to hit fifth against right-handed pitchers.

--The Cubs activated LF Alfonso Soriano and LHP Scott Eyre off the disabled list and optioned INF/OF Micah Hoffpauir and RHP Kevin Hart to Class AAA Iowa. Soriano, who missed six weeks with a broken left hand, was in Wednesday's starting lineup as leadoff man. Hoffpauir was 14-for-37 (.378) with the Cubs, while Hart was 2-1 with a 7.91 ERA in 19 1/3 innings.

--RHP Kerry Wood will see a hand specialist in Chicago on Thursday. Wood has not pitched since July 11 because of a blister on his right index finger. The Cubs want to find out why the finger isn't healing better. It's possible Wood will have to go on the disabled list.

--CF Jim Edmonds will have an MRI on his left knee Thursday. Edmonds came out of Tuesday's game after not being able to push off the knee while batting.

--RHP Kevin Hart went to the minor leagues with a 7.91 ERA. Manager Lou Piniella stopped short of saying he was disappointed in Hart, but he did say Hart's struggles were a "mystery because, basically, he has the stuff." Hart will go back to being a starting pitcher in the minors, and there's a good chance he'll be recalled later if he pitches well. Hart made the postseason roster last year after a strong September.

--1B Derrek Lee's home run was his 16th of the season but his first since June 20. Lee entered the game 3-for-21 on the road trip.

--3B Aramis Ramirez snapped an 0-for-26 skid with a single in the eighth inning.

--CF Reed Johnson notched his second career grand slam. The other came July 1, 2005, at Boston as a member of the Blue Jays.


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