It Didn't Last Long

Manager Lou Piniella dropped Alfonso Soriano from first to third in the lineup Friday to try to inject some pop into a middle of a lineup that had been slumping and suffering from injuries.

The experiment lasted two games, as Soriano went 1-for-8 with three strikeouts. On Sunday, Soriano was back in the leadoff spot for the series finale in St. Louis.

"We'll just put him in the leadoff spot," Piniella said. "That's where he feels comfortable, and that's where we'll leave him."

Soriano has a self-described comfort zone in the leadoff spot. The Cubs tried batting him second to begin last season, and that lasted all of two games. Just as he did last year, Piniella cut this experiment short.

Maybe it was just as well. Soriano was on base three times, scoring two runs and stealing a base as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 10-3.

CUBS 10, CARDINALS 3: Rich Harden pitched six innings, giving up four hits and two runs as the Cubs snapped a four-game losing streak. Chicago hitters jumped on Cardinals starter Todd Wellemeyer with three runs in the first inning, as the first four hitters reached base. Kosuke Fukudome went 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBI on his 32nd birthday.


--RHP Carlos Marmol will throw Monday in Arizona to test his sprained left knee. If he checks out OK, he could pitch Tuesday. Marmol suffered a Grade 1 sprain of the knee when he twisted it by getting his spikes caught in the mound at Busch Stadium last Friday. The Cubs were relieved that Marmol didn't need surgery, which would have put their top setup man out several weeks.

--RF Milton Bradley still is not ready to play, according to Piniella. Bradley has been hobbled by a strained right groin, an injury he suffered April 12. Both Piniella and GM Jim Hendry have talked with Bradley about his attitude. Only in his first year in Chicago, Bradley has had run-ins with the media already. He currently is appealing a two-game suspension for his outburst against umpire Larry Vanover, who ejected him from a game on April 16.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- Through the weekend series at St. Louis, Cubs starting pitchers already had turned in 11 quality starts for the season. With the offense struggling, the Cubs were only 5-6 in those games, with the starters having an ERA of 2.62.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I will talk to him on a daily basis, and we'll see if he's ready to play. When he's ready, we'll get him in there." -- Piniella on Bradley and his strained right groin.


The Cubs are banged up badly, and their depth is being tested. Aramis Ramirez is day to day with a left-calf strain, and Derrek Lee went out of Sunday's game with neck spasms. Add to that the right-groin strain that has hobbled Bradley for two weeks and the left-knee sprain that fell Marmol last week, and the Cubs have been piecing it together. The team is carrying 12 pitchers, so Piniella could get stuck if a game goes into extra innings.


--Ramirez continues to be day to day with a strained left calf. Ramirez came up lame Friday running out a double in St. Louis. Mike Fontenot has taken over at third for Ramirez.

--Lee left Sunday's game after the top of the first inning because of neck spasms. Lee doubled and scored in the first but was replaced by Micah Hoffpauir in the field in the bottom of the inning. The Cubs say they do not believe Lee will have to go on the DL.

--Soriano was hit on the batting helmet with a pitch from Wellemeyer in the second inning but stayed in the game. Back in the leadoff spot, Soriano also singled, doubled and stole a base.


Lee (neck spasms) left the April 26 game.

Ramirez (left calf soreness) left the April 24 game, and he didn't play April 25-26. He is day-to-day.

Marmol (strained left leg muscle) left the April 24 game, and he didn't pitch April 25-26. He is day-to-day.

Bradley (right groin strain) left the April 12 game and didn't start April 13-26, though he appeared several times as a pinch hitter.

--The Sports XChange



At Nashville, the Cubs (12-6) got another gem from one of their starters Sunday as RHP Esmailin Caridad (3-1) tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. Caridad struck out five batters and walked two. C Chris Robinson (2-for-4) hit a three-run home run, his first of the season, for the Cubs' offense. SS Andres Blanco (1-for-3) singled to extend his hit streak to five games and is batting .322 through 18 games. 1B Jake Fox was 1-for-3 with a walk and is batting .433 through 17 games.


At Sevierville, three Smokies (9-7) pitchers combined on a four-hitter Sunday. RHP Marcos Mateo made his Double-A debut and pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run and one hit to go with four walks. He struck out three batters. LHP James Russell (1-2) got the win in relief, allowing two runs in 3 1/3 innings. RHP Vince Perkins threw two scoreless innings for his first save. Perkins has not allowed an earned run in his first 9 1/3 innings to open the season. LF Ty Wright (2-for-2) paced the Smokies' offense with a double, a walk and an RBI. SS Darwin Barney (2-for-4) added two hits and scored a run. He has a hit in seven of his last eight games and is batting .348 through 15 games.


At Daytona Beach, DH Jovan Rosa (2-for-4) doubled, homered and drove in three runs to pace the Cubs' (8-8) offense Sunday. 1B Russ Canzler (1-for-4) hit his first home run and extended his hitting streak to 15 consecutive games to open the season. He is batting .375 with eight RBIs. Top Cubs pitching prospect Andrew Cashner, fresh up from extended spring training, made his 2009 debut and tossed 2 2/3 innings, allowing one run and one hit. The right-hander and Cubs first-round pick from TCU in 2008 struck out two batters and walked one. RHP Henry Williamson (1-0) allowed one run and three hits over 3 1/3 innings for his first win in relief. RHP Jake Muyco tossed 1 2/3 innings, allowing a run and two hits for his first save.


At Peoria, the Chiefs (7-8) collected 14 hits in the victory Sunday and scored three ninth-inning runs to win in their last at-bat. DH Josh Harrison (1-for-4, three RBI) provided the game-winning hit with a walk-off two-run triple. SS Junior Lake (3-for-4, RBI) collected a season-high three hits, including his fourth double. CF Kyler Burke (2-for-4, RBI) collected his third multi-hit game in his last five starts to up his batting average to a season-high .317 through 14 games. RHP Justin Bristow made his Peoria debut and allowed two runs and two hits in two innings in a no-decision. RHP Ryan Buchter (1-0) got the win in relief, allowing one hit to four batters faced.

--Staff Reports

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