Staff ace Carlos Zambrano was supposed to come off his six-game suspension and pitch Thursday's finale against the Braves. Instead, he'll work Friday's opener at Cincinnati.
More significantly, Piniella will be able to take Sean Marshall out of the rotation for the foreseeable future and move him to the bullpen, where Piniella wants Marshall's experience.
Instead of going with Ryan Dempster, Marshall and Randy Wells against the Reds, Piniella will throw Dempster on Saturday and keep Wells in rotation Sunday.
For the series next week at Houston, the Cubs will go with Ted Lilly, Zambrano and Dempster. The left-handed Marshall will immediately be available in relief.
Ever since the Cubs sent veteran lefty Neal Cotts to the minor leagues in late May, the only lefty in the 'pen has been Jason Waddell, who made his major league debut this week after eight years in the minor leagues.
Thursday's game was postponed. The contest will be made up June 22.
--1B Derrek Lee has a four-game hitting streak (6-for-14). In his last 14 games dating to May 16, Lee is 20-for-51 (.392).
--SS Ryan Theriot is 1-for-10 on the road trip. He was one of several players getting bunting instruction with coach Ivan DeJesus. Fontenot and INF Mike Fontenot both had trouble laying down bunts in Wednesday's game.
--The Cubs and Braves will make up Thursday's rainout on June 22. Originally, the date was open for travel from Chicago to Detroit.
--RHP Rich Harden (mid-back strain) threw a side session Thursday, and he'll make a rehab start Sunday for Class AAA Iowa. He'll throw about 75 pitches. The Cubs plan to activate Harden on May 12 to start against the Twins at Wrigley Field.
--RF Milton Bradley has a mild-to-moderate strain of his right calf. Bradley had an MRI Wednesday. The Cubs do not plan to put Bradley on the disabled list immediately. They'll evaluate him over the weekend in Cincinnati. The Cubs expressed hope Bradley can pinch-hit this weekend.
--C Geovany Soto would have been benched for a second straight game if not for Thursday's rainout. Koyie Hill was set to start behind the plate. Piniella said Soto needed a "mental breather." Soto and Piniella met in Piniella's office late Thursday afternoon to talk over the situation. Soto is batting .209 with one homer, 12 RBIs and a .264 slugging percentage.
NASHVILLE 5, IOWA 2 (CLASS AAA)
At Nashville, Tenn., the Cubs (26-29) were out-hit 13-8 in the loss Thursday, their sixth in a row. CF Sam Fuld, RF Doug Deeds and SS Anderson Machado all finished 2-for-4 to pace the offense. RHP Jeff Samardzija (2-2) started and suffered the loss, allowing four runs and a season-high nine hits. He struck out six and walked two.
CAROLINA 12, TENNESSEE 3 (CLASS AA)
At Zebulon, N.C., the Smokies (21-34) allowed 16 hits en route to their 12th straight loss Thursday, three shy of the Southern League record for consecutive defeats. SS Darwin Barney (2-for-3, walk) paced the offense with two hits and raised his average to .324 through 52 games. He has reached base in 12 of his last 14 contests. RF Tyler Colvin (1-for-4, double) had two RBI and is 4-for-11 since being promoted to Tennessee. LHP Casey Lambert (3-4) started and suffered the loss, allowing six runs (three earned) and eight hits in three innings.
DAYTONA 6, CHARLOTTE 3 (CLASS HIGH-A)
At Port Charlotte, Fla., the Cubs (23-25) collected 12 hits in the victory Thursday. C Robinson Chirinos (2-for-4, walk, two RBI) hit his eighth home run and fifth in his last five games. SS Starlin Castro (2-for-4, double, RBI), LF Jonathan Wyatt (2-for-3, RBI), and RF Dylan Johnston (2-for-4) each added two hits for the Cubs with Johnston clubbing his fourth home run and fifth double. RHP Rafael Dolis started and received a no-decision, allowing one run and two hits in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out two batters and walked four. RHP Craig Muschko (3-1) picked up the win in relief with 2 2/3 scoreless innings. LHP Dustin Sasser tossed 1 1/3 innings in relief and has not allowed an earned run in 10 consecutive innings dating back to May 13. He has a 1.69 ERA in 17 appearances spanning 26 2/3 innings.
PEORIA 4, BELOIT 1 (CLASS-A)
At Peoria, the Chiefs (28-23) collected 11 hits in the victory Thursday. 1B Rebel Ridling (3-for-4) paced the offense with three hits, hitting his sixth home run and 13th double. RF Nelson Perez (2-for-4) added two hits, including his eighth double, and drove in two runs. DH Ryan Flaherty (2-for-4) and LF Cliff Andersen (2-for-4) each added two hits as well. 3B Josh Vitters was 1-for-3 with a single. RHP Justin Bristow (2-2) started and earned the win, allowing one run and three hits in five innings. He struck out four batters and walked three.
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