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09/27/08 4:05 PM ET

DeRosa needs more time to heal

Cubs hoping he's ready for NLDS; Soto in better shape

MILWAUKEE -- It's a good thing the playoffs don't start Saturday for the Cubs' Mark DeRosa.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said the versatile DeRosa was not available for the final two regular-season games because of a strained left calf suffered Wednesday in New York.

Rookie catcher Geovany Soto also didn't start Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers to give his left hand another day to heal. He has a joint irritation on the top of his hand, but Piniella said if the playoffs opened Saturday, Soto could play. He aggravated the injury, which he first felt on Sept. 18, on a swing in Friday night's game.

"DeRosa, if we had a playoff game today, I'm not so sure," Piniella said. "We still have today, tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday. He's a little bit more of an 'if' than Soto."

The Cubs, who clinched the National League Central one week ago, will open the NL Division Series on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Their opponent has yet to be determined.

DeRosa, who has set career highs this season with 21 homers and 87 RBIs while hitting .285, has made 80 starts at second base and 32 starts in right field. Maybe if he only played the infield, it would be less stressful on his leg?

"I don't think it's going to make any difference," Piniella said. "He'd have to push off to turn a double play."

DeRosa was scheduled to test his leg Saturday by hitting off a batting tee.

"If the playoffs started today," Piniella said, "he couldn't play."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.