Castro Could be an All-Star

It appears the Cubs will have one player named to the National League All-Star team. The choice around the club appears to be shortstop Starlin Castro.

Manager Mike Quade sent his ballot in Sunday. Although he is not allowed to discuss for whom he voted, Quade talked up Castro nevertheless.

"Just the fact that he's in the conversation is awesome," Quade said. "I like to think that sooner than later, he'll be at the head of that conversation."

Quade noted the Mets' Jose Reyes and Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki are the "name" shortstop now, but Castro has been coming on. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games in Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. That should get him some consideration, even if he's not voted onto the team.

"Oh, absolutely," Quade said. "There's three guys, to me, looking through it. The kid in New York (Reyes) is having a great year; Starlin's having a great year; and Tulowitzki always drives the ball and drives in runs."

NOTES, QUOTES

--2B Darwin Barney has begun a minor league rehab assignment at Class AAA Iowa. Barney (left knee sprain) is due to come off the DL on Wednesday, and the Cubs anticipate he will be able to do so. He hit a three-run homer Sunday for Iowa.

--RHP Kerry Wood is eligible to come off the disabled list, but his stay has been prolonged because a blister on his right index finger has been slow to heal. Even if Wood comes off the DL in the near future, the Cubs may keep rookie RHP Chris Carpenter with the big club. Carpenter has hit 100 mph with his fastball since his June 14 call-up. "I'm trying to understand the blister thing," Quade said. "It's somewhat healed, but now you need layers of skin."

--CF Marlon Byrd is scheduled to begin a rehab at Class AAA Iowa on Monday. Byrd has been on the DL since May 22 with facial fractures, the result of being hit with a pitched ball. At least for his minor league stint, Byrd will wear a plastic face guard that extends out in front of his helmet to help protect his face and his left eye.

--LHP Doug Davis and RHP Rodrigo Lopez are the likely starting pitchers, in that order, for Tuesday's day-night doubleheader against the Giants in Chicago. RHP Matt Garza will pitch Monday's makeup game at Wrigley Field against the Rockies. The Cubs don't have an off-day until the All-Star break, so they will bring Lopez out of the bullpen to pitch Tuesday night.

--RHP Randy Wells (1-2, 6.25 ERA) has not won since his first start of the season, April 4. He spent the better part of two months on the disabled list with a forearm strain. Sunday, however, he gutted out six innings on a day when the Cubs needed innings from their starter. Wells gave up 10 hits and six runs in six innings. He gave up four runs in the first inning but settled down after that. "I don't have a have a whole lot to say about it," Wells said. "It (the first inning) happened so fast, you kind of tip your hat to them."

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- The Cubs hit their low-water mark as their record fell to 15 games below .500 at 31-46. They are flirting with a 100-loss pace.

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