05/01/12 6:58 PM ET
Cubs expect bats to heat up with weather
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
The last time the Cubs had nine homers in a month was August 1981, when they hit nine in 21 games.
"New month, obviously, and the weather warming up and things like that will play into hitting more home runs," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Would we have more than we have now if the weather was different and the wind wasn't blowing in [at Wrigley Field]? Of course we would. At the beginning, we came across a lot of good pitching, and now it's leveled off. All that comes into play."
The Cubs' team batting average of .237 was its lowest in April since the 1997 team batted .228 in the first month.
Numbers give DeWitt start over Barney
CINCINNATI -- Cubs infielder Blake DeWitt, who is 9-for-25 lifetime against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo, started at second base for the second straight game Tuesday in place of Darwin Barney.
Barney, who is 1-for-7 against Arroyo, didn't have a good weekend in Philadelphia, going 1-for-12 in the four games.
"Barney's still going to play every day for the most part," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Tuesday. "[DeWitt's] numbers against Arroyo are too good to sit him. He's got to play in a game like this."
Barney tried to make a leaping grab in the eighth inning of Monday's 6-4 loss and landed awkwardly, but he said he was fine from the acrobatics.
"You don't worry about the landing on the way up," Barney said. "I reached as far as I could, and I was trying to get a little extra."
So, he's healthy?
"One hundred percent," Barney said.
Randy Wells was in the Cubs' bullpen on Tuesday but would only be used in an emergency, manager Dale Sveum said.
Wells, who has made two starts subbing for Ryan Dempster, including Saturday in Philadelphia, threw a bullpen session on Monday. He will be more available Wednesday. Dempster, sidelined with a strained right quad, is expected to be activated from the disabled list Thursday to start the series finale against the Reds.
Kerry Wood, who has not pitched since April 13 because of fatigue in his right shoulder, remained on track to come off the disabled list Thursday. Said Sveum: "Everything's good."
Starlin Castro and Tony Campana are the first Cubs duo to have at least seven stolen bases in the first month since stolen-base records were first kept in 1921. Castro leads the Major Leagues with 10 steals, and Campana has seven.
The Cubs have 20 stolen bases in 23 games this year. They did not record their 20th steal last season until June 16, the 68th 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.