None of those pitchers worked in the weekend series against the White Sox but Piniella said Lieber is his long man, and with two left-handers now in the rotation (Ted Lilly and Sean Marshall), Piniella said that only heightens the right-hander's value to the Cubs.
Neither of the lefties, Cotts and Scott Eyre, worked in relief against the White Sox, but Piniella said that was for matchup reasons.
The back end of the bullpen has been dominated by Bob Howry and Carlos Marmol and closer Kerry Wood. That won't change, even though Marmol is working through control issues.
Wuertz, Cotts and Lieber all worked in Tuesday's 7-5 loss to the Orioles. Wuertz gave up three unearned runs. Cotts allowed an inherited runner to score. Lieber worked two scoreless innings.
"Middle relief wasn't very good," Piniella said. "They've been struggling. They've got to get better."
ORIOLES 7, CUBS 5: The Cubs' 14-game home winning streak ended. Sean Marshall gave up four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings in his first start of the season. Marshall came up from the minor leagues earlier Tuesday. Middle relievers Michael Wuertz and Neal Cotts combined to give up three unearned runs in the sixth, with help from an error by left fielder Eric Patterson. Kosuke Fukudome hit a solo homer, and Jim Edmonds hit a three-run blast.
NEWS AND NOTES
--OF Reed Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to June 18) with lower back spasms. Johnson hurt himself last week running out of the batter's box on a bunt at Tampa Bay. Johnson going to the DL corresponded with the Cubs recalling Marshall to start against Baltimore.
--INF/OF Daryle Ward came off the disabled list, and the Cubs optioned INF/OF Micah Hoffpauir to Iowa. Ward went on the DL in mid-May because of a bulging disk in his lower back. He's fresh off a rehab stint at Iowa. Both Ward and Hoffpauir are left-handed hitters. The Cubs decided to keep right-handed-hitting OF Matt Murton.
--RHP Carlos Marmol worked the top of the ninth inning in his first appearance since Saturday. Marmol had been battling control issues, so much so that he and the Cubs staff sat down and watched tapes. Marmol worked a scoreless inning, but he did hit Melvin Mora with a pitch.
--CF Jim Edmonds is hitting .417 (10-for-24) with five homers and 14 RBIs over his last eight games at Wrigley Field. He was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer in the series opener against Baltimore.
--RF Kosuke Fukudome recorded his 18th multi-hit game at Wrigley Field, picking up a single and a homer in five at-bats. At home, Fukudome is batting .373 (.53-for-142).