MIAMI -- Any plans for Tyler Colvin to play first base, a prospect that appeared imminent before Lou Piniella retired, have almost been put on hold for the present.

Cubs manager Mike Quade said he doesn't plan to try the young outfielder at first base against any potential playoff contenders. That would likely mean Colvin's only chance to try the position would be in the club's final three games against Houston.

"It would be almost on a whim," Quade said.

The manager sees no rush for Colvin's switch inasmuch as Xavier Nady is playing well at first base, and Micah Hoffpauir is doing well as his backup, in addition to the relatively rapid adjustment Colvin would have to make.

When Piniella announced the club's intention to prepare Colvin as a first baseman, Colvin initially practiced regularly in relearning the position he played in college. Now he does it mostly on the club's days off, he said Friday before the Cubs' game against the Marlins.

"There's no rush right now," he said.

Colvin said he could play first base in a Major League game right now if the Cubs wanted to try him there. But he added, "I still have some things I want to learn about positioning myself in different situations."

Quade said the Cubs want to make sure Colvin is comfortable at the position before he plays there.

"This could be a valuable thing for him some day," the manager said, emphasizing the last two words.

Gorzelanny passes test, will start Friday

MIAMI -- Tom Gorzelanny threw 75 pitches Friday in a simulated game, and Cubs manager Mike Quade said the left-hander would start next Friday against the Cardinals.

Gorzelanny has not pitched in a game since Sept. 1, when he was hit by a line drive off his left hand against the Pirates. He left with a shutout after 2 2/3 innings.

Originally, Gorzelanny was slated to pitch next Wednesday against the Giants provided he passed the simulated-game test, but Quade has opted to use Randy Wells on Wednesday and save Gorzelanny for two days later.

"He's champing at the bit," said Quade, who added that Gorzelanny likely would not be used as a reliever in the interim.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Gorzelanny "looked fine" in his simulated game.

"He came out of it healthy," Rothschild said. "That's really what you look for."

Gorzelanny is 7-8 with a 3.90 ERA this season.

Cubs' Castro returns from bruised hip

MIAMI -- Shortstop Starlin Castro returned to the Cubs' lineup Friday night after not starting the club's last three games with a bruised left hip.

"I feel good," the 20-year-old rookie said as he headed out of the clubhouse for some extra batting practice before the series opener against the Marlins.

Manager Mike Quade expects to play Castro extensively as long as he is healthy, despite Darwin Barney's encouraging recent play.

That might even include every game in the season's final week -- a week when the manager might ordinarily mix in different alternatives -- if Castro needs the at-bats to qualify in the National League batting race.

Castro's .312 average would have put him fifth among NL hitters, but he entered Friday night's game four at-bats short of qualifying for consideration.

"To me, the game and the season always take a priority over individual things," Quade said. "But in a situation like this, we'll take a look at trying to help some players reach individual goals."

Quade paused a moment, then continued, "But you earn that right by your performance. It's just not something that's given to you. Of course, if you're that close to achieving something, you probably have."

Castro has batted .348 in his last 11 games.