04/23/11 7:05 PM ET
Russell preparing as if he'll start Tuesday
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Russell, who is 1-2 with an 8.00 ERA in two starts with the Cubs, giving up eight earned runs over nine innings, was expected to start Tuesday against the Rockies. Only this time, the Cubs will give him a little more time to prepare.
Before his last start against the Padres on April 20, Russell pitched in two games in relief against the Rockies. This time, they'll have the lefty do a side session just like the other starters.
"The one thing we're going to try to do ... is instead of pitching him an inning or giving him a few hitters before his next start, we're going to try to stay away from him," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "We'll let him prepare and maybe change his repertoire a little bit, particularly against right-handed hitters and give him his best chance to be successful."
Right-handers are batting .469 against Russell while lefties are hitting .111, so Quade hopes the side session will give the pitcher a chance to fine-tune his stuff.
Russell is subbing for Andrew Cashner, who is rehabbing from a strained right rotator cuff and just began his throwing program on Friday. There's no timetable for Cashner's return.
Castro, Barney appear to fit atop Cubs' lineup
CHICAGO -- Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney appear to be perfect fits at the top of the Cubs' lineup.
Castro matched a career high on Saturday with his fifth four-hit game and second this year, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs. He's now batting .500 (23-for-46) in the leadoff spot. Barney, the No. 2 hitter, had three hits, scored two runs and drove in three in the Cubs' 10-8 come-from-behind win over the Dodgers.
"They bring a different aspect that we haven't had in a couple years," Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said of the pair.
Both have hit safely in six of their last seven games, and Barney is batting .333 with seven runs, four walks, four doubles, one triple and nine RBIs in his last 12 games.
Cubs manager Mike Quade dropped Castro to the No. 3 spot for two games this week.
"It doesn't matter -- I don't care," Castro said about where he hits. "I feel real good. Barney has good bat control and let's me run and always puts the bat on the ball."
Cubs bolster bullpen by recalling Berg
CHICAGO -- The Cubs added reinforcements to their bullpen on Saturday prior to their 10-8 win over the Dodgers, recalling right-hander Justin Berg while optioning Jeff Stevens to Triple-A Iowa.
Stevens threw 89 pitches in relief on Friday, backing up Casey Coleman, who was knocked out in the third inning against the Dodgers.
"In his few outings here, he's a much improved guy from the guy I saw last year," Cubs manager Mike Quade said of Stevens. "He's going to help us over the course of the year."
Stevens joked after Friday's game that he was willing to throw 200 pitches if needed.
"The amazing thing to me is it's one thing to go out and throw, but we were watching his velocity and he said he felt great," Quade said. "Good for him and it put us in position to try to get back in this thing and try to win a series."
Berg, who flew to Chicago early Saturday from Des Moines, Iowa, split the 2009 and '10 seasons between the Cubs and Triple-A Iowa, and was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 52 Major League relief appearances.
At Iowa this year, he was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in five relief appearances, totaling six innings.
Quade perplexed by Dodgers' steal attempt
CHICAGO -- On Friday, Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis attempted to steal a base in the fifth inning with an 8-1 lead. After the game, Cubs manager Mike Quade said he was a little perplexed.
"I do think I probably need to get a copy of the Milwaukee and L.A. unwritten rules books, too, unless they missed a sign," Quade said. "I was a little surprised at that. But I believe there was a missed sign."
Apparently, that's what happened.
"I missed a sign," said A.J. Ellis, who was thrown out. Ellis has eight steals in nine professional seasons and none as a Major Leaguer.
The Brewers stole bases on the Cubs with a five-run lead on April 9.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wasn't sure about any violation of etiquette but admitted there was an internal communications breakdown.
"We knew when it happened, we figured they'd be irritated," Mattingly said of the Cubs. "[Third-base coach Tim Wallach] missed it from me. He realized it, tried to tell him, 'No,' but he went. We weren't trying to run. We definitely wouldn't run A.J.
"But, it is Wrigley, and we did give up eight runs in the ninth [Tuesday night], and we are trying to win a game."
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.