05/27/12 2:30 PM ET
LaHair not worried about current slump
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"I come into the season and I already accept that it's going to happen. So when it happens, it's like, 'Oh yeah, it's that part of the season,'" LaHair said on Sunday. "Nobody goes through a season without having to struggle."
LaHair batted .390 in April, but has followed that with a .231 May.
"Everybody in the game will go through it at some point," he said.
He hit two balls hard on Saturday, but was not in Sunday's starting lineup against Pirates lefty Erik Bedard.
"After last night's game, I feel like I'm close," LaHair said.
Trying to stay positive is tough when the Cubs are going through an extended losing streak. Entering Sunday, the Cubs had lost 11 consecutive, the longest current losing streak in baseball.
"That's no fun," LaHair said. "It definitely makes it a lot more difficult. Losing definitely makes things more noticeable sometimes when you're not swinging the bat well. When you're winning, it's not as big of a deal. When you're not swinging the bat well and you're losing, it's kind of like a double [whammy]. it's all part of it."
Rookie Dolis out as Cubs' closer
PITTSBURGH -- Rookie Rafael Dolis is out for now as the Cubs' closer. James Russell and possibly Shawn Camp will share the role, manager Dale Sveum said on Sunday.
Dolis, who had taken over for Carlos Marmol, hit a batter with the bases loaded in the ninth inning on Saturday to force in the Pirates' game-winning run in a 3-2 win over the Cubs.
"That's the frustrating thing ... the back end of the bullpen is giving it up because of walks and hit batters," Sveum said on Sunday. "Nobody is hitting the ball and doing things. We're imploding by walking guys and hitting guys."
Dolis, 22, gave up a single and walked two batters before he hit Matt Hague with a pitch.
"It's a combination of youth and being put in a situation he probably shouldn't be put in, for obvious reasons," Sveum said of Dolis, who was projected to be one of the Cubs' setup pitchers this season but was switched after Marmol struggled.
"It's funny because he started out doing a nice job," Sveum said of Dolis. "Now, it's a combination of making sure you repeat the mechanics that he has in the bullpen. He's throwing great bullpens, and he gets on the mound and wants to recoil and fall off and do these things. It's a matter of being able to get on the mound, no matter what inning it is or how many outs, and repeat your delivery and throw back-to-back quality pitches."
Russell has four career saves, none this year. Camp is 10-for-23 in save opportunities in his career.
"We'll see how it all pans out," Sveum said. "Hopefully, [Matt] Garza throws nine innings and we won't have to worry about it."
Marmol, currently on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, will make his second rehab outing on Sunday for Triple-A Iowa and could join the Cubs on Monday or Tuesday when they open a brief three-game homestand against the Padres.
Javier Baez, the Cubs' No. 1 pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft, was assigned to Class A Peoria, and was expected to join the team on Monday. Baez, 19, who starred at Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, Fla., has been playing in Mesa, Ariz., at the Cubs' extended spring training.
Catcher Steve Clevenger, rehabbing from a strained oblique and rib cage injury, was 3-for-3 with a home run on Saturday for Triple-A Iowa. He was scheduled to catch nine innings on Monday, and if all goes well, could rejoin the Cubs on Friday.
"The plan is for him to be with us on the road when we go to San Francisco," Sveum said Sunday.
Welington Castillo, on the disabled list with a sprained right knee, has been able to catch twice, and is feeling better. However, the knee is not stable enough for him to play in a game.
Blake DeWitt suffered a sprained left wrist diving for a ball in the outfield for Triple-A Iowa, and was placed on the Minor League team's disabled list. He was examined by the Cubs' team doctors in Chicago.
Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, and general manager Jed Hoyer have been busy preparing for the First-Year Player Draft, which will be June 4. The Cubs' scouting staff will convene on Sunday in Chicago to go over their notes.
Sveum stays in touch with Epstein and Hoyer while on the road.
"Most teams aren't going to have their [front-office executives] on the road this time of year anyway, especially one who is so involved and hands on like Theo is," Sveum said. "He's going to go out to see all the players. It's an important time for the organization to make sure they get those Draft picks right."
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.