Notes: Cedeno reacquainted with short
Izturis' hamstring pain moves versatile infielder off second base
CHICAGO -- Ronny Cedeno has had to dig his old shortstop glove out from the back of his locker. He's re-learning the position.
"I can tell how much difference there is," said Cedeno, who began the season as the Cubs' starting shortstop, then moved to second base when the team acquired Cesar Izturis on July 31 for Greg Maddux.
With Izturis on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, Cedeno is back at short.
"You have to be quick, you have to be ready to throw the ball," he said of shortstop. "At second base, you can take the ground ball easy. [At] shortstop, you have to be ready for everything. You have to cover third base, second. At second, you just have to catch the ball and throw it."
Cedeno had problems with his throwing motion at shortstop, and he wasn't getting his elbow high enough. Cedeno said that he is reverting back to bad habits and needs to watch that.
In a perfect world, the Cubs would put Cedeno at second and let him get comfortable at the new position for next year. For now, he'll play shortstop because he's the best player among the candidates. He's leaning on Izturis for help.
"He helped me out the other day," Cedeno said of Izturis. "I had my head down. I have to keep going, play hard and finish strong.
"He talks to me. He talks to me about who's running, who's hitting," Cedeno said. "I think that's why he won a Gold Glove -- he knows. In baseball, you have to be smart. If you're smart, you'll be OK. I'm learning from that."
Sunday in the park: As of Thursday, the Cubs' starting pitcher for Sunday was still listed as "To be determined." It would have been rookie Ryan O'Malley's start, but he had to be placed on the disabled list with a strained left elbow.
Jae Kuk Ryu, called up to take O'Malley's spot on the roster, is a candidate for Sunday's start if he's not needed in relief before that. Another option is rookie Sean Marshall, who made his third Minor League rehab start on Tuesday for Triple-A Iowa. Marshall threw six shutout innings in that game, giving up five hits and striking out six.
"We're trying to decide ourselves to see if Marshall is ready or not," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We'll make a decision when we get to St. Louis."
The Cubs will open their final series against the Cardinals on Friday night. Rookies Juan Mateo and Rich Hill are scheduled to start on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
What about Jerome Williams? He began the season in the Cubs' rotation, went 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA in five starts and was optioned to Triple-A on April 23. He's 4-6 with a 4.76 ERA in 27 games overall at Iowa and 4-6 with a 4.87 ERA in 14 starts. This month, the right-hander is 1-2 with a 6.94 ERA in six games.
"I guess he's a possibility, but we'd hoped Jerome had gone down and performed better," Baker said. "He would've been back a long time ago if Jerome had pitched like we hoped he would have pitched. That was the last thing we told Jerome -- 'Hey, man, you go down and pitch two or three good games in a row and you'll be back here.' It hasn't happened. Why he hasn't done it this year is a mystery to us all."
Next year: Do the Cubs need to improve their on-base percentage next year? They currently rank last in the National League with a .318 OBP.
"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me. The problem we have to address more than anything is the home run problem."
The Cubs have been outslugged at home, 101-58.
"We have to address power and we have to address pitching," Baker said. "Is [Mark] Prior going to be back? Who's going to be here? Who's going to be themselves? We built this team when the season started on who's available. Our pitching's been injured."
That's an understatement. The Cubs have had 13 players on the disabled list this year; the team high is 16, set in 2002. The most stints on the DL by a Cubs team in a season was 17 in 1999 and 2002. They've now topped that, using the DL 18 times.
The injuries have forced the Cubs to call up young players from the organization. The Cubs have used 41 players this season, including 19 who have made their Cubs debut.
"I've always said since I started managing that I'd like to have a team full of young guys and young players who you can teach to play the game the right way," Baker said.
Be careful what you wish for.
Extra bases: After going 3-0-1 in four home series from July 18-Aug. 6, the Cubs have dropped their last two at Wrigley Field. ... The Cubs will add a catcher when rosters expand on Sept. 1, but Baker wasn't sure who else would be called up. "We've got most of them now," Baker said. "We haven't decided yet. We haven't even discussed it yet. I can't imagine a whole lot more being left." ... Sunday's game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium will be a 7:05 p.m. CT start and broadcast on ESPN.
Minor matters: Wade Miller gave up five runs on 11 hits over five innings and got the win in Iowa's 12-8 victory over Oklahoma on Wednesday. Michael Restovich hit his third homer in as many days and Eric Patterson went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Casey McGehee also had three hits, including a two-run homer. ... Hugo Castellanos gave up one run on three hits over six innings in Double-A West Tenn's 4-0 loss to Huntsville. ... Mark Holliman gave up five runs on five hits over five innings and struck out five in Class A Daytona's 7-4 loss to Jupiter. Chris Robinson, acquired from the Tigers for Neifi Perez, hit a three-run homer. ... William Muldowney threw five shutout innings in Class A Boise's 15-1 win over Spokane.
On deck: Mateo (1-1, 3.79 ERA) will open the Cubs' final series with the St. Louis Cardinals against Jeff Suppan (9-7, 5.03 ERA) on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT at new Busch Stadium. The game will be broadcast on WGN Radio and Comcast Sports Net.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.