No Sense of Panic Yet Among Cubs

The Cubs returned home Thursday after a 2-4 road trip, but there appeared to be no panic despite a mediocre 10-11 start to the season that included an 8-2, 10-inning loss to the Marlins on Thursday night.

Alfonso Soriano, who has questioned the team's intensity of late, said a meeting might be necessary if the inconsistent play continues.

"We're supposed to play better than what we're playing right now," said Soriano, who insisted team chemistry is good.

The Cubs have been without middle-of-the-order players Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Milton Bradley for stretches, but general manager Jim Hendry was not using injuries as an excuse.

"We haven't played well; a lot of guys just aren't hitting," Hendry said. "When you have a lot of good players not hitting at the same time or maybe a clump of guys maybe not throwing as well as they can, then you're going to lose some ballgames."

Manager Lou Piniella said the Cubs' rankings in batting (11th), pitching (12th in ERA) and fielding (eighth) would have to rise.

"Until those numbers improve, you can have all the meetings you want," Piniella said. "We can send them to a spa."

MARLINS 8, CUBS 2 (10 innings)

The Marlins batted around against Cubs relievers Aaron Heilman and Angel Guzman for six runs in the 10th. LHP Sean Marshall started for the Cubs and turned in seven innings of one-run ball. But setup man Carlos Marmol blew a save in the eighth, with two walks and a throwing error.

NOTES, PLAYER NEWS

--Ramirez tested his sore left calf by running on the outfield grass, and he felt well enough for the Cubs to decide against putting him on the disabled list. Ramirez suffered the injury April 24 and has not played since. An MRI performed in Chicago on Thursday revealed inflammation, but Ramirez may be able to start in the weekend series against Florida. The Cubs brought INF Bobby Scales to Wrigley Field from Class AAA Iowa, but they sent him back without activating him when Ramirez said he was OK.

--C Geovany Soto and C Koyie Hill look as if they will share time for the time being. Hill started Thursday. Soto entered the day batting .111, and he was 3-for-16 in throwing out base-stealers. He had been bothered early in the season by a sore right shoulder. Hill moved to third base in the 10th inning, marking his first major league game as an infielder.

--Lee went 0-for-4 Thursday, including a key strikeout in the bottom of the ninth with a man on second and one out. Lee's average dropped to .189, and he has only one homer.

"I'm bad right now, really bad," Lee said. "I have to make some adjustments."

--The Sport XChange

MINORS WATCH

MEMPHIS 4, IOWA 3 (CLASS AAA)

At Memphis, the Cubs (13-8) dropped back to back games for the first time this season despite out-hitting the Redbirds, 7-5, Thursday. C Chris Robinson and SS Andres Blanco each finished 2-for-4, and 3B Matt Camp was 2-for-5 in his Triple-A debut. Blanco has hit safely in eight straight games and is batting .352 through 21 games. RF Brad Snyder (1-for-3) doubled to extend his hit streak to 12 consecutive games. RHP Mitch Atkins (1-2) started and suffered the loss allowing one earned run on five hits in six innings. He struck out four batters and walked one. RHP Jeff Stevens threw two scoreless innings in relief, allowing one walk to seven batters faced to extend his scoreless streak to 10 consecutive innings to open the season.

TENNESSEE 7, HUNTSVILLE 6 (CLASS AA)

At Huntsville, Ala., the Smokies (11-9) jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the victory Thursday. 2B Tony Thomas (2-for-5) and RF Jim Adduci (2-for-3, RBI, two walks) finished with two hits atop the order, and 3B Marquez Smith was 1-for-5 with a two-run single in his Double-A debut. LF Ty Wright (1-for-5) singled to extend his hit streak to 10 consecutive games. He is batting .274 after beginning the season in a 7-for-37 slump. LHP Casey Lambert started and received a no-decision, allowing six runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 innings in his shortest outing of the season. He allowed six hits and one walk. Three Tennessee pitchers combined to toss 5 1/3 scoreless innings in relief with RHP Alex Maestri (1-1) getting the win.

BREVARD COUNTY 7, DAYTONA 3 (CLASS HIGH-A)

At Daytona Beach, the Cubs (9-11) allowed 11 hits in their third straight loss Thursday. LHP James Leverton (1-2) started and allowed six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings en route to the loss. He struck out three batters. Six players finished with one hit apiece for Daytona -- C Mark Reed (1-for-4, RBI), 2B Nate Samson (1-for-3, walk, run), 3B Marwin Gonzalez (1-for-4), DH Jovan Rosa (1-for-3, walk), DH Dylan Johnston (1-for-3, walk), and 1B Russ Canzler (1-for-4, run).

PEORIA 10, BURLINGTON 6 (CLASS-A)

At Burlington, Iowa, the Chiefs (11-8) scored a season-high 10 runs and collected 14 hits for their sixth consecutive win Thursday. LF Kyler Burke (3-for-3) paced the Chiefs' offense with two doubles, two walks and one RBI. He reached based in all five plate appearances. RF Nelson Perez (2-for-5) finished with a double, his third home run, and three RBI. 2B Josh Harrison (2-for-3, walk, two RBI), 1B Rebel Ridling (2-for-5, two runs), and C Luis Flores (2-for-4, two doubles, walk) each added two hits. RHP Aaron Shafer (3-1) started and allowed three runs (four earned) and five hits in five innings for the win. He walked four batters and struck out two.

MINOR MOVES

OF Tony Campana was promoted to Daytona from Peoria Friday. Campana, 22, batted .283 (15-for-53) with five RBI, five walks and 14 runs in 18 games. He led the Midwest League with 11 stolen bases. Campana was a 2008 13th round draft pick from Cincinnati. In a corresponding move, OF Drew Rundle was sent to Peoria from Daytona. Rundle, 21, batted .190 (8-for-42) in 15 games for Daytona. Rundle was a 14th round Cubs draft pick from Bend (Ore.) Senior High School in 2006.

Northsiders Report Top Stories