CHICAGO -- This spring, Casey Coleman was one of the last pitchers sent to the Cubs' Minor League camp. He will likely be up in the Major Leagues before he makes one start for Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs are expected to call up Coleman to make Sunday's start against the Brewers as the team starts piecing together the rotation, following the news Wednesday that both Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner are headed to the disabled list.
Wells has a strained right forearm, while Cashner has a mild strain in his right rotator cuff. Both underwent MRIs, which showed there was no structural damage. Neither will be allowed to pick up a ball for at least two weeks, and they will be re-evaluated then.
The Cubs do have off-days on the next three Thursdays. Cubs manager Mike Quade said they are considering left-hander James Russell to make the switch from the bullpen to the rotation on Tuesday to face the Astros.
"The way I see it now in the next three weeks, you're looking at a line of three Tuesdays where we need pitching," Quade said. "Whether that's 'Russ' coming out of the chute or if someone takes the bull by the horns in the Minor Leagues and establishes himself. Three times in three weeks we need somebody, and that's better than five times in three weeks or whatever. Built in off-days help for a lot of reasons, and this is one of them."
Coleman was called up at the end of last season and appeared in 12 games with the Cubs, making eight starts. He went 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA in his starts, and five of them were quality starts.
"He's been on track and he's a perfect fit, and then we'll figure out what we want to do with the following spot," Quade said of Coleman.
Iowa opens its season on Thursday at Round Rock, and Thomas Diamond is scheduled to start.
"Nobody is feeling sorry for us, and I'm certainly not," Quade said. "People will pick up the slack. It's a long season, and [Wells and Cashner] will be back to help us as well."
Pena expected back Friday in Milwaukee
CHICAGO -- Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena is expected back in the lineup on Friday, when the team opens a three-game series against the Brewers.
Pena has missed two games because of a mild sprain of his right thumb, injured Monday.
"We'll give him another day," Cubs manager Mike Quade said Wednesday. "I think we feel pretty good about him being ready in Milwaukee. He could probably give me an at-bat today if I needed him."
Tyler Colvin started at first on Wednesday for the second straight day and second time in his young career. He handled all the plays in the field Tuesday and also hit a two-run homer in the Cubs' 6-5 win over the D-backs.
Samardzija sees mixed results in outing
CHICAGO -- About a half-hour after Tuesday's game, Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija was by himself in the left-field corner of Wrigley Field, throwing a ball against the padded wall.
He would throw, retrieve the ball, and throw again.
"I used to do that as a kid all the time," Cubs manager Mike Quade said.
Samardzija had pitched in Tuesday's 6-5 win over the D-backs and struck out the first two batters he faced to end the sixth. But he walked Miguel Montero to open the seventh, got Chris Young to hit into a force at second, then walked Juan Miranda before he was lifted.
"I really liked a few things yesterday, and I didn't like a few things," Samardzija said Wednesday. "I wanted to go out after watching film and do the things I liked and felt good with, and that way I could go to bed knowing that was on my mind. I had the itch."
It was just a matter of finishing the day on a positive note.
"I've been saying since spring that I really like where I'm at," the right-hander said. "There are little small fixes that will bring the ball in the zone, especially early in the count, that will make all the difference."
His solo side session helped him sleep Tuesday night.
"You can look at outings a lot of different ways," he said. "After watching it and seeing some of the pitches I made, that really opened my eyes and I really liked it a lot, I just wanted to repeat that."
On Friday, Carlos Zambrano will face Milwaukee's Randy Wolf at Miller Park. Remember Sept. 14, 2008? Zambrano and Wolf faced off then, too, at Miller Park, but Wolf was pitching for the Astros in a makeup game relocated because of a hurricane in Houston. Zambrano threw a no-hitter, the first of his career.
"I'm a big believer in history repeating itself," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "I love going to Milwaukee and playing there or playing them here. It's a nice rivalry. ... I'm always excited to play those guys, and hopefully 'Z' will set the tone and it'll be good."
It's early, but there's a good vibe in the Cubs' clubhouse.
"I think everybody is on the same page," Alfonso Soriano said. "We feel like a family. We like each other, and there's nothing more important. When somebody makes a mistake, the other guys respond for you, and that's big. It's good to have a team like that. Everybody feels comfortable, and they're not afraid to make a mistake."
Quade is one of the reasons for that homey feeling.
"He has a big impact," Soriano said. "He's the manager, he's always happy, he always talks to the players. He lets us know what we have to do. We have a lot of respect for him, and I think he does a very good job."
Soriano is batting .333 in the first six games, with three home runs. All of his homers have come leading off an inning. No, he's not lobbying to return to the leadoff spot.
"I think we have very good leadoff right now," he said. "I think batting sixth, I feel comfortable."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.