Lee not concerned with neck spasms
Cubs first baseman exits game but says he can play Sunday
CHICAGO -- Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee had to leave Saturday's 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals after the fifth inning because of neck spasms, but he said he expects to be available for the team's day-night doubleheader on Sunday against the Cards.
Lee doubled in the fifth, slid hard into second base and aggravated his neck on the slide. He stayed in the game and eventually scored on a single by Alfonso Soriano but was lifted defensively in the sixth.
The Cubs close the first half of the season with the twin bill and can start either Micah Hoffpauir or Jake Fox at first if Lee can't go.
"I'm good," Lee said. "I'll be in the lineup tomorrow."
"Let's hope that when he comes [Sunday], he can play," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
Lee, who was batting .281, had to come out of a game April 26 against the Cardinals because of neck spasms and missed two games. He was sidelined another five games in early May. An MRI revealed he had a bulging disc.
Lee said Saturday's discomfort was not as bad as it had been earlier this year, and the athletic trainers were able to treat it immediately.
The first baseman has carried the team, batting .328 in the last 47 games, and has 17 homers, two more than he did last season at the All-Star break.
The Cubs don't need any more injuries. They've put 12 players on the disabled list this year; catcher Geovany Soto was No. 12 on Saturday when he was sidelined because of a mild left oblique strain.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.