05/29/12 2:10 PM ET
Off DL, Clevenger Cubs' primary catcher
By Cash Kruth / MLB.com
Steve Clevenger, the first of three Cubs backstops to land on the disabled list this year, was reinstated from the 15-day DL prior to the second game of a three-game set against the Padres. Fellow catcher Blake Lalli was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Clevenger, out since April 26 with a strained right oblique and rib cage injury, played in five games for Iowa, hitting .462 (6-for-13). He caught nine innings Monday and proved he was ready to return earlier than expected, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Sveum said Clevenger, who was hitting .500 (11-for-22) with five doubles at the time of his injury, will play often, as much as two out of three games. Regular starter Geovany Soto (left knee surgery) remains on the DL, while Koyie Hill started Tuesday.
"We'll ease into it here in the beginning, but he'll play quite a bit once he gets his feet underneath him and gets back into everyday shape," Sveum said.
Sveum also said Welington Castillo, who was placed on the DL on May 22 with a mild sprain of the MCL in his right knee, could miss up to two more weeks.
"He's still having a little bit of trouble getting in the squat and blocking," Sveum said. "So it's coming along, but it's a little bit slower than we thought. He's going to have to go prove for a while on a rehab stint that he can do it on a long-term basis -- squatting and blocking and catching 150 pitches a game."
Coleman in mix for ninth-inning role
CHICAGO -- Add Casey Coleman's name to the list of potential Cubs closers.
Manager Dale Sveum said Tuesday that Coleman, who pitched pitched the final inning in Monday's 11-7 win over the Padres, would have entered the game in a save situation and is a candidate to finish games in the future.
Coleman joins fellow right-hander Shawn Camp and left-hander James Russell as pitchers Sveum said he will use in save situations.
The Cubs have used a closer by committee since removing right-hander Carlos Marmol from that role earlier this month. Right-hander Rafael Dolis struggled in the ninth inning, and he was sent to Triple-A Iowa when Marmol was activated.
Sveum said he was impressed with how Coleman handled Monday's ninth inning -- in which he allowed a leadoff single before getting three straight outs -- especially after the 24-year-old told his manager the only other time he got the final three outs in a game was in Spring Training.
"I said, 'Well that ain't Wrigley Field with 30,000 people and a 12-game losing steak,'" Sveum said. "But he handled it well. Even though we had a four-run lead, with that kind of game, it was somewhat like a one-run game, because all you had to do was get a couple people on and a routine fly ball was a home run yesterday. He did a nice job."
Sveum said one pitcher who's not a ninth-inning candidate is Marmol, who returned from the 15-day disabled list Monday.
"He's still got to get out on the mound and throw strikes and prove to us that he's able to throw strikes on a consistent basis," Sveum said.
Skid over, Sveum points to positives
CHICAGO -- Dale Sveum said Monday morning the mood in his clubhouse was loose, even with the Cubs mired in a 12-game losing streak.
After Monday's 11-7 win over the Padres, the Cubs manager admitted there was a lot of excitement in the clubhouse. Tuesday morning, however, it was business as usual.
"The one nice thing about doing what we did for 12 games was the clubhouse was exactly the same from when we were playing well for a few weeks, too," Sveum said. "That's always nice to see, that the guys don't sit there and hang their heads and carry over day to day, knowing the next day is certainly different."
Sveum admitted snapping the streak was a monkey off the team's back. But, he added, how the players handled the lengthy skid showed their true colors as people and professionals.
"When you have people that care as much as these guys do and they go through the preparation and they work hard and they played hard for the first two months of the season, it's a reflection on them and the way they go about their business," Sveum said.
A goat and a good cause reach Wrigley
CHICAGO -- Five guys and a goat arrived at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, completing a 95-day journey that spanned more than 2,000 miles and raised more than $20,000 for cancer research.
Cubs fans Matt Gregory, Kyle Townsend, Blake Ferrell, P.J. Fisher, Philip Aldrich and Wrigley, a Nigerian Dwarf billy goat, were on hand for Tuesday's game against the Padres.
The group's fundraising will go to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Gregory's mother was treated for leukemia at the center, which was the first research center to study bone marrow transplants for siblings. Aldrich donated bone marrow to his sister, who also had a form of leukemia, when he was young.
Aldrich said the group's donations spiked on Opening Day, when Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts did a radio interview with them and matched their then-$2,600 total.
"The Cubs have been very supportive," Aldrich said. "We were talking to his assistant on a daily basis, trading emails."
The group -- which calls themselves "Crack the Curse" -- blogged about their travels on their website as the made their way from Mesa, Ariz., to Chicago, a trek that began Feb. 25.
"Crack the Curse" actually made it to Chicago on Monday and attended the game, sans Wrigley, as the Cubs broke their 12-game losing streak. The group also was on hand at the team's previous win on May 14 in St. Louis.
Aldrich said the toughest part of the trip was the beginning, dealing with "excruciatingly painful" blisters on their feet and then going through the hot New Mexico desert. Once the group got through Texas, however, Aldrich said he knew they were going to finish.
For Wrigley -- who was purchased for $60 off Craigslist -- it's onto the next chapter in life. Townsend's mother owns a farm in Michigan, where Aldrich said Wrigley will "retire and live a good goat life."
"He went from a pen to seeing the country, so I'd say he's had a pretty good ride," Aldrich said.