Ramirez Rehabs in Peoria

PEORIA – Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez made his first rehab start for the Peoria Chiefs since going on the disabled list on June 9 with a thumb contusion.

Ramirez took the field for the first time in two weeks with the Chiefs playing host to the Quad Cities River Bandits Saturday night at O'Brien Field. Batting second in the lineup, he ended the night 0-for-3 with a strikeout and an intentional walk.

"This is the first time I've hit in two weeks," Ramirez said after being taken out of the game in the sixth inning. "I feel good. (Sunday) I'll get two to three more (at-bats)."

In Ramirez's first at-bat, he grounded to the shortstop, and then in the third inning he struck out looking. His third plate appearance came in the fourth inning with runners on second and third with two outs, prompting the River Bandits to issue an intentional walk.

In his final at-bat in the sixth inning, Ramirez grounded out to third base.

"I was not mad at (the River Bandits) for walking me," Ramirez said. "They are in the playoff race and if they win tonight they clinch a wild card spot, so they did what they had to do."

"I just want to get out of here healthy. I want to swing without thinking about my thumb at all. Fielding is not a problem; it is just when I bat is when it hurts."

Ramirez will be in the lineup again Sunday, but in a different role.

"He looked good swinging the bat and fielding ground balls," Chiefs manager Casey Kopitzke said. "(Sunday) he'll get three more at-bats but he will only be used as the designated hitter."

Ramirez is set to come off the disabled list Wednesday when the Cubs travel to Seattle.

"I'm ready to go," Ramirez said. "That's why I'm (in Peoria). If I wasn't ready to come back then I wouldn't be playing. The Cubs will have to make a roster move, but I plan on being back in the lineup on Wednesday."

Ramirez will come off the DL batting just .168 with five home runs and 22 RBI, but he is not blaming his thumb for his lack of production.

"I'm not making any excuses," Ramirez said. "We just haven't pulled it all together as a team yet."

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