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08/10/09 10:40 PM ET

Cubs not sure when Aramis will be back

Slugger sits Monday; Zambrano's back injury not serious

DENVER -- The only good news the Cubs got before Monday's game with the Rockies was that there was no new bad news.

After seeing Carlos Zambrano go on the disabled list with a back ailment and Aramis Ramirez come out of a game Saturday and miss Sunday's game with a sore left shoulder, the Cubs were content to settle for the status quo.

Unfortunately, that meant Ramirez was out of the lineup again for Monday's finale of the four-game series with the Rockies.

"I can't play today," Ramirez said before the game. "It's a little better, but I won't be able to help the team if I play today. I'll take treatment the whole day and see how it is tomorrow."

With the Cubs needing a win to split the series with Colorado, earn a .500 mark on the road trip and keep pace in both the National League Central and Wild Card races, Ramirez's questionable status puts the Cubs in a position of needing to decide whether to get him back on the field or send him back to the disabled list.

"We've played short a lot this year where we've ridden out injuries trying to prevent people from being put on the disabled list," manager Lou Piniella said. "It makes it tough. But there's no sense making any hasty decisions here with Ramirez until he sees a doctor [Tuesday]. This game here is just as important as the game we're playing against Philadelphia tomorrow."

Though he did feel better after taking Sunday off, Ramirez couldn't offer much hope about his availability Tuesday.

"I don't know [about Tuesday]. I thought I was going to be ready today," he said. "I took treatment the whole day yesterday, but it's not good enough to play. That's why I'll take today off. Check it out tomorrow with the team doctor and see what they say."

On the Zambrano front, Piniella seemed hopeful after hearing the reports of the pitcher's tests back home in Chicago.

"The report I got was that the MRI that he took over the weekend didn't show any difference from the one he took in 2006," Piniella said. "He took an epidural shot, I think yesterday, so that it would help with any inflammation that would be in there. When we get home, we'll see how well the shots worked, and then we can plan some activities for him and get him back to pitching. It doesn't seem to us that it's serious."

Zambrano was scratched 15 minutes before Friday's opening game of the Rockies series and had only lasted three innings in his previous start, suffering from back stiffness and spasms both times. He was placed on the disabled list Saturday, retroactive to Thursday.

"We talked about getting healthy, and it just doesn't seem like it's possible," Piniella said. "I almost pulled a hamstring going out to second base yesterday [to argue a call that led to his ejection]. It's the darndest thing."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.