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04/30/09 7:30 PM ET

Ramirez not DL-bound after MRI

Cubs make decision after third baseman shows improvement

CHICAGO -- Bobby Scales was at Wrigley Field on Thursday but was not needed as the Cubs decided not to place third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the disabled list.

Ramirez, sidelined since coming out of last Friday's game in St. Louis with a strained left calf, underwent an MRI on Thursday. The test showed inflammation, but general manager Jim Hendry said the third baseman was expected to be back in action within a few days and did not need the full 15 days off.

Lou Piniella and athletic trainer Mark O'Neal watched Ramirez as he ran in the outfield prior to Thursday's game.

"He went through a fairly extensive array of stretching and running exercises, and he's much better than he was in Phoenix two days ago," Piniella said. "The feeling is, the next few days we can get him out there to play."

If the Cubs did place Ramirez on the disabled list, he would not be available until May 10.

"He'll be ready way, way before that," Piniella said. "We need his bat. We've had trouble scoring runs, as everybody knows."

Scales, 31, is in his 11th year in the Minor Leagues and has yet to appear in a big league game. He batted .320 last year for Triple-A Iowa, and was headed back there Thursday night.

"He's a quality young man," Hendry said of Scales. "He spent a lot of time in the Minor Leagues. He's played well and we want to give him a chance to get up here sooner or later. I told him that. I didn't want him to feel like this was his one shot. If Ramy had to go on the DL today, we wanted another guy here."

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