06/19/12 7:50 PM ET
Teammates continue to back Soriano
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
On Saturday, Jeff Samardzija came to Soriano's defense after fans booed him for not running out a hard hit ball that the veteran thought was caught. On Monday, it was Matt Garza's turn.
"He's a gamer," Garza said of Soriano. "I love the guy to death. I'll back him to the end. We love to have him out there and I love having him in the lineup. He cares so much about what he does and takes pride in his craft. He deserves a lot more respect from the fans than he's getting."
The reality is fans have high expectations since Soriano signed an eight-year, $136 million contract with the Cubs.
"When you give somebody the amount of money they gave him, fans expect him to be 28 forever," Garza said. "I'm sorry, but time catches up, and for this guy to still do what he does, that's amazing, it's outstanding. Not a lot of guys his age can keep doing what he does. There's very few and the few that do are well respected and this guy catches grief."
"It's good to hear," Soriano said. "[The players] know. It's good to know I have their support because they know how hard I work and they know how hard I work to win, not to work to be a better player, but to win. That's why I signed here -- to win. It's not about the money. Who cares about the money?"
Second opinion confirms Stewart's diagnosis
CHICAGO -- Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic confirmed what the Cubs' medical staff diagnosed regarding third baseman Ian Stewart's left wrist, and that is that there is nothing structurally wrong.
Stewart, on the disabled list since June 13 with left wrist soreness, received a cortisone injection on the top of his hand, and the Cubs hope that helps him deal with the discomfort.
"This kind of thing is lingering but hopefully the cortisone shot in a different area will make a difference," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Tuesday.
Stewart, seeking a second opinion, was examined Monday at the clinic and is expected to rejoin the Cubs on Wednesday. The third baseman is hitting .201 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 55 games.
DeJesus, LaHair to remain in center, right
CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he'll stick to his revamped lineup as much as he can when the team returns to National League play this weekend against the D-backs.
That would mean Bryan LaHair is in right field and David DeJesus in center.
"That's basically what we'll hang onto as much as we can," Sveum said.
The Cubs took advantage of the designated hitter this week to insert LaHair in the outfield as the team prepares for the arrival of first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a top prospect at Triple-A Iowa.
DeJesus, 32, has primarily played center field in his career and Sveum doesn't think age has caught up with the outfielder.
"The one thing about David is his routes are going to be really good all the time," Sveum said. "He understands how to get balls, how the balls come off a right-hander's bat, a left-hander's bat. He's very athletic with the way he can move his body. He's done an awesome job in right field.
"I saw [Jim] Edmonds play center field at 40 years old and it was one of the smoothest things I've ever seen," Sveum said. "The knowledge comes into play a lot more than the speed and what age you are."
Wells determined to take advantage of starts
CHICAGO -- Randy Wells had a good Spring Training, and wasn't happy about opening the year in Triple-A Iowa. On Wednesday, he'll make his third start of the season, subbing for Ryan Dempster, and Wells knows he has to make the most of these opportunities.
"Three years in the rotation, or whatever it was, doesn't guarantee you're going to get the fourth," Wells said. "The two years I had in the rotation didn't guarantee anything. I've been through it before. It was definitely a low point in my career to have to go to Triple-A this year out of Spring Training. I felt I was throwing well.
"It's definitely an eye-opener but it makes you stronger and you realize there's nothing given to you in this game and there's a guy waiting to take your spot every day."
Wells did make two spot starts the first time Dempster went on the disabled list in April. He was recalled May 21, and since then, his longest outing was five innings on May 21 in Houston.
"I don't think I've lost too much stamina," he said.
Starlin Castro has the most multi-hit games in the National League since 2011, notching No. 84 on Monday. But there's another number the 22-year-old shortstop is keeping an eye on: his batting average.
Castro posted back-to-back three-hit games Sunday and Monday to raise his average to .303. It had dipped to .295 after Thursday's game against the Tigers. Cubs manager Dale Sveum felt Castro was motivated to keep his average above .300. Can hitters really do that?
"Oh yeah, they can," Sveum said. "I've seen it five years in a row in Milwaukee. Not that they mean to, but I think sometimes that's their motivating factor. A lot of times, the goal is to hit .300 or the goal is to hit 20 home runs. These kind of hitters have that as one of their major goals, to hit .300, and I think they can lock it in better when their average dips below .300."
Castro's average was at .298 in the next-to-last game of the 2010 season and he had two hits to finish the year at .300.
Speaking of hitting, Bryan LaHair is 3-for-30 against left-handed pitchers (.100). How can he improve that?
"I think he's got to get it out of his own head," Sveum said. "There's probably too much thinking, too much worrying about this pitch, guessing too much and not being aggressive enough early in the count, especially."
David DeJesus was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning twice as the Cubs batted around during Monday night's 12-3 victory. It marked the first time in franchise history a Cubs player had been plunked in the same inning twice. It has happened before involving a Cubs player. On Sept. 23, 2010, Ryan Dempster hit the Giants' Jose Guillen twice in the second inning.
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.