CHICAGO -- Rookie shortstop Starlin Castro did not start Friday, only the second game he has not started since he was called up May 7. Castro was batting .177 this month. "I need a better approach, that's it," Castro said. Lou Piniella said Friday was a "normal day off." ... Cubs pitchers Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly and catcher Koyie Hill rode their bikes from Wrigley Field to U.S. Cellular Field, traveling along the lakefront. Lilly said the trio weren't recognized by anyone as they sped along Lake Michigan. "It was just 'beep, beep,' and we zoomed," Lilly said. ... The Cubs did have to use a few pitchers in Thursday's extra-innings game in Seattle. "Outside of [John] Grabow, we're in reasonable shape," Piniella said. "Our bullpen had been pretty rested prior to [Thursday]."

Cubs see own potential in hot White Sox

CHICAGO -- The Cubs headed into the Interleague rematch against the White Sox somewhat envious of their intracity rivals.

The White Sox had won nine games in a row entering play Friday and were 2 1/2 games back in the American League Central. The Cubs, on the other hand, had won four of their past nine games and are eight games back in the National League Central.

"They got hot," Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez said. "We've got the team that can do that, too."

Ramirez returned to the lineup Friday after being sidelined with a sprained left thumb. He was hitting .168 when sidelined, one of the reasons for the Cubs' struggles.

"We still haven't put any consistent things together," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Friday. "Hats off to the White Sox. You can see what a couple good weeks do for you. They got on a roll. A clutch hit here or there makes a huge difference, and it gets contagious. We haven't been able to maintain any kind of consistent roll like that. We had one good week."

The one thing lacking? Consistency.

"We're all just waiting for our club to try to play in consistent fashion," Hendry said. "A few weeks ago, everybody was ready to write both teams off. It's a credit to the White Sox for doing a job of getting back in the thick of it and on a huge roll."

The White Sox have feasted on the National League, winning against the Pirates, Nationals and Braves. The Cubs are 7-8 so far in Interleague Play.

"We need a hot streak," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "We need to win some ballgames. We've got a nice string of games here between now and the All-Star break. We need to win with more regularity, and if we do that, we'll be much closer."

Piniella, broadcaster Stone put feud to rest

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Lou Piniella and White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone made peace on Friday.

The two exchanged verbal punches during the last Cubs-White Sox Interleague matchup June 11-13 at Wrigley Field. Piniella joked Friday that the two "closed doors and threw a few jabs." In reality, they talked it out and have agreed to disagree.

"Everything is fine," Piniella said. "I've known Steve a long time. Everybody doesn't agree with what other people say at times. We talked it out, shook hands and it's all behind us."

On June 11, Piniella lashed out at Stone who had been critical of the way the Cubs were handling outfielder Tyler Colvin. Stone had said the rookie outfielder should be playing every day and that Piniella could not handle young players.

"The whole thing was basically I know what I'm doing with young kids," Piniella said Friday. "We talked about the situation -- it's over with. I don't have any problem with Steve or anybody else. I just want to do my job the best I can and win baseball games with the Chicago Cubs and nothing more and nothing less."