The Cubs have their top two teams in the postseason picture. Class AAA Iowa is fighting for a spot in the Pacific Coast League playoffs, and Class AA Tennessee already is in the Southern League playoffs. All of the call-ups figure to be from Iowa, anyway.
The first call-up will be a third catcher, Welington Castillo, who has seen time with the big club this year. Castillo was called in Tuesday, but not activated, as he was an insurance policy for Geovany Soto, who has been out with a swollen right knee.
Beyond that, the Cubs likely will call up pitcher Jeff Samardzija and outfielder Sam Fuld. Pitchers Justin Berg and Mitch Atkins are possibilities, as is outfielder Brad Snyder, who is having a big offensive year.
"We've talked about it a little bit," farm director Oneri Fleita said. "I think we've got more than enough players now. Let's keep these guys healthy. We've got a lot of young players who are getting their feet wet and getting an opportunity to play. I don't think we need to crowd that right now. Obviously, what's going on in Tennessee and Des Moines is a great thing. As long as we can keep them armed with enough players to compete, I'm sure we'll do that."
--Manager Mike Quade said Soto's right knee was doing much better Tuesday. Soto had an MRI on Monday, and it showed only minor swelling, according to the Cubs.
--Hill filled in for a second straight game in place of Soto. Hill hit his first homer of the season and also doubled. He has hit safely in his last three games, going 6-for-12.
--SS Starlin Castro's .315 batting average ranks fifth in the NL. He finally has enough plate appearances to qualify for the leader board even though he did not come up from the minor leagues until May 7. Castro was 2-for-4 in Tuesday's loss to the Pirates.
--RHP Ryan Dempster endured his shortest outing of the season: three innings. He saw his personal four-game winning streak snapped. Dempster had not lost since July 30.
"It wasn't a good job, a good performance by me," said Dempster (12-9). "We should have won that game. We score seven runs, but it's hard when your starting pitcher, being me, puts you in a hole 7-0. That's a lot to overcome."
--OF Tyler Colvin continues to take groundballs at first base, but there is no rush to get him into a game. Quade likes Colvin's outfield play. The Cubs can use Xavier Nady, Micah Hoffpauir and Jeff Baker at first.
"That's why we don't want to get carried away with it," Quade said. "He does an excellent job in the outfield. His work at first will not hurt him at all, I think, in the outfield. His diligence to both positions is going to take care of that."
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