ST. LOUIS -- One more day. At least.

That remained the status of third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who was withheld from Friday's lineup with a sore oblique muscle on his left side.

Ramirez said on Thursday that he expected to be back in the lineup on Friday, but manager Lou Piniella decided to give him more time.

"He is going to take batting practice today. And if he is OK, we look forward to getting him in the lineup tomorrow," Piniella said. "We'll see."

Cubs get Lee back in the lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Derrek Lee rejoined the team on Friday after spending three days on the bereavement list to attend to his ill grandfather and sitting out the four-game Giants series.

Infielder Micah Hoffpauir was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to clear room for Lee. Hoffpauir was hitless in seven at-bats during his three-game stint.

Skipper Lou Piniella wasted no time getting Lee back in the lineup, slotting the first baseman in the three-hole for Friday's game.

"I told him I am happy to see him back. We will throw him out at first base today, hitting third in the lineup," Piniella said. "We hope he will come back nice and strong and swing the bat well."

Piniella rejoins the Cubs in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- After missing the series against the Giants with his mother hospitalized in Tampa Bay, manager Lou Piniella rejoined the team on Friday.

Piniella said that his mother is better and has returned home.

"I am appreciative that the Cubs allowed me to go home. I needed to be home," Piniella said. "My mom was happy to see me. We got her home, and she is doing a little better.

"I am looking forward to the Cardinals series. ... Let's hope we play good baseball. That is all I am interested in."

Despite the Cubs dropping three of four games to the Giants by one-run margins, Piniella was happy with how the team played.

"We played hard," he said. "We could have won every one of those games."

Worth noting

The Cubs are 2-8 against National League Central opponents over their last 10 contests, and are 20-35 against division foes this season. ... Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin have combined for 64 extra-base knocks this year, making them the third Cubs rookie pair to slug that many in 21 years. ... Rookie Darwin Barney made his first Major League start on Friday, at second base, and hit seventh in the order.