06/19/07 9:44 PM ET
Notes: Cubs meet history-chasing Sosa
Floyd, Ward, Lee expected to DH; Eyre brothers reunite
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"It's a ton of home runs," manager Lou Piniella said. "Sammy's had a great career. It's kind of, not funny, not strange, but maybe apropos that the Cubbies are in town and Sammy's going for his 600th homer. He was an icon in [Chicago] for a long time and well-liked and loved. Sammy can get his 600th home run -- let us win the ballgames."
It is a weird coincidence, Derrek Lee said. It's hard to imagine hitting 600 home runs. Lee has 222 career homers.
"That's a lot," Lee said. "That's being very good for a very long time. If he reaches it, I'll definitely say, 'Congratulations.'
"It'll be very ironic if he hit it against us," Lee said.
Sosa's exit after the 2004 season was not exactly a hero's sendoff.
"I don't think he went out on the terms he would've liked to," Lee said. "There were situations that happened. I think overall, I think Cubs fans still respect him for everything he gave to the city."
As for Sosa, he's eager to hit No. 600 and wasn't targeting the Cubs.
"It's going to happen against somebody," he said.
His feelings about Chicago?
"Chicago is great -- it's still my city," he said. "Now, I'm here in Texas. I have to think about Texas now."
Homer happy: Among the top 10 all-time Major League home run leaders, only Sosa and Harmon Killebrew did not -- and have not -- hit a regular-season home run against the Cubs. The top 10 with their career and home runs against the Cubs are:
Hank Aaron: 755 career homers, 87 vs. Cubs
Barry Bonds: 748 career homers, 45 vs. Cubs
Babe Ruth: 714 career homers, 1 vs. Cubs
Willie Mays: 660 career homers, 92 vs. Cubs
Sammy Sosa: 599 career homers, 0 vs. Cubs
Frank Robinson: 586 career homers, 54 vs. Cubs
Mark McGwire: 583 career homers, 23 vs. Cubs
Ken Griffey Jr.: 581 career homers, 14 vs. Cubs
Harmon Killebrew: 573 career homers, 0 vs. Cubs
Rafael Palmeiro: 569 career homers, 3 vs. Cubs
Ruth's homer against the Cubs was as a member of the Boston Braves on May 21, 1935, off Tex Carleton.
American League rules: Cliff Floyd was the designated hitter Tuesday, but Piniella said he'll also use Daryle Ward and even Lee in that spot. The Cubs will be playing by American League rules for the next six games, including their weekend Interleague series against the White Sox.
In 71 Interleague road games since 1997, the Cubs' designated hitters are a combined .284 (80-for-282) with 14 homers and 52 RBIs. The team has used 23 different DH's since '97, including Michael Barrett and Lee.
Ward was activated from the disabled list and with the team Tuesday. Sidelined since June 3 with a strained left hip, Ward was 1-for-13 in four rehab games with Triple-A Iowa, hitting a double and driving in a run. He also treated the Minor League team to steak dinners after games.
"I feel good, I feel excited to be back on the team," Ward said. "I've got all my strength in it, and I was able to turn on some balls that were inside. That's what I wanted to do, is go and find out if I could do that."
Ward was running outside Saturday when one of the Iowa Cubs told him about the fight at Wrigley Field.
"I said, 'Are you sure? There's no way -- not D-Lee,'" Ward said.
Family feud: This series marks the second family reunion for the Eyre brothers, Scott and Willie, and second during an Interleague series. Last year, the two pitchers found themselves on opposite sides during the Cubs' Interleague series against the Minnesota Twins. Now, Willie Eyre is a member of the Texas Rangers.
Just as he did last year, Scott had jerseys made in which half is a Rangers jersey and half is a Cubs jersey, and then asked teammates to sign their respective halves.
Willie also gave Scott a citronella candle to take to the bullpen. Apparently, when it rains in Texas, the bugs come out.
Extra bases: Aramis Ramirez was able to take batting practice and grounders at third base on Tuesday for the first time since he injured his left knee. He is on pace to be activated from the disabled list on Friday. ... Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is the 114th park in which the Cubs have played a regular-season game, and the fourth in Texas. They've also played at Colt Stadium, the Astrodome and Minute Maid Park. ... Wade Miller rejoined the Cubs after spending a couple weeks with his physical therapist. "A couple weeks ago, I was having some discomfort -- not pain or hurt or anything like that," Miller said. "I wasn't feeling good. I decided to go back and see my [doctor], and he said my shoulder was too tight." He hopes to be able to have a bullpen session by the weekend. ... Koyie Hill will probably continue to catch Carlos Zambrano. ... Remember the crazy hair Sean Gallagher had in Spring Training? Well, he'll never forget it, because that's the mug shot on Gallagher's Major League identification card, which he got Tuesday. "I looked at it and said, 'Is this a joke?'" said Gallagher, who got his hair trimmed the morning he was called up. ... Henry Blanco did not accompany the Cubs to Texas, but stayed in Chicago to continue his rehab from a herniated disk.
Minor matters: Neal Cotts gave up eight runs, seven earned, on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings in Iowa's 14-11 win over Memphis on Monday. Cotts struck out six and walked three. Clay Rapada picked up the win in relief. Buck Coats was 5-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs. Matt Murton and Geovany Soto each had two hits, including a homer and a double. ... Justin Berg gave up three runs on four hits over six innings in Tennessee's 3-2 loss to Huntsville. Jake Fox drove in both of the Smokies' runs. ... Jeff Samardzija, back in the rotation, threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings in Daytona's 11-2 win over Palm Beach. Samardzija did not get a decision. Tyler Colvin had three hits, including two homers, a double and four RBIs. Jake Muyco had three hits and two RBIs. ... Peoria had the day off for the Midwest League All-Star break, and will resume play Thursday. Jake Renshaw and Alex Maestri were both named to the West Division All-Star team.
On deck: Jason Marquis is scheduled to start the second game of this three-game Interleague series against Kameron Loe and the Rangers. The right-hander has not won since May 9. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on WGN.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.