What Now?

Life without Lee until at least June

The news was considerably worse than what had been originally hoped for on Thursday with test results revealing two separate fractures to Derrek Lee's right wrist that will cause the Cubs first baseman to remain in a cast for an estimated six weeks.

Lee, who was awarded a five-year, $65 million contract extension earlier this month, was injured in Wednesday night's hard-fought 5-4 Cubs victory and series win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Awaiting a toss to first by pitcher Scott Eyre with a hard-charging Rafael Furcal barreling down after initiating a bunt to the pitcher's mound, Lee collided with Furcal and the Cubs star shouldered the brunt of the impact.

Lee became the second Cub to fall victim to injury in the past week. On Saturday night, OF Angel Pagan tore his left hamstring while legging out a grounder at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. Pagan is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Eyre, meanwhile, suffered a right knee bruise on the same play as Lee after diving for Furcal's bunt, but damages to the left-hander appear minimal.

The Cubs will place Lee on the 15-day disabled list in time for their upcoming weekend series against the Cardinals and will promote someone from the minor leagues to take the reigning National League Batting Champion's spot on the 25-man roster, General Manager Jim Hendry said Thursday.

With Lee out, much of the focus shifts to who the Cubs will use in that spot.

Veteran John Mabry figures to get an adequate number of at-bats at first with Todd Walker also receiving a fair audition for the temporary role. Walker moved from second to first following the injury to Lee on Wednesday.

The Cubs are already housing 12 pitchers, so whoever they promote from the minor leagues will be a position player.

Unless there is a change of heart, OF Michael Restovich appears to be the odds-on favorite, a team spokesperson for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs said Friday morning.

Jerome Williams will face Mark Mulder in the Cardinals series opener beginning Friday at 7:10 p.m. CDT at the new Busch Stadium. The game can be seen on WGN.

Lee was batting .318 with 3 HR and 10 RBIs in his first 14 games this season.

Steve Holley is the publisher of Inside The Ivy. In addition to his work for Scout.com, he also covers Nicholls State University athletics for the Tri-Parish Times in southeast Louisiana. E-mail Steve at staff@insidetheivy.com.

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