Cubs Hoping for Added Stability

Carlos Zambrano (STAFF PHOTO/PAM DAVIS)

Cubs manager Lou Piniella is hoping for some stability to set in later this week with the return of right-handers Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden.

Piniella said that Harden had a "good throw day" Monday and that he'll start Thursday's series finale against the Cardinals. Harden has not pitched since Aug. 29 because the Cubs want to take it easy on his cranky right shoulder.

Zambrano pitched from flat ground on the outfield grass Tuesday at Busch Stadium. He's penciled in to start Saturday at Houston.

"I think (when) we get our two starting pitchers back into the rotation, it will help stabilize things, too," Piniella said.

Piniella was talking about both the rotation and the bullpen. Left-hander Sean Marshall made a spot start Sunday and pitched creditably in a 4-3 loss at Cincinnati. Marshall now can go back to the bullpen, where Neal Cotts has been the only lefty.

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Chad Gaudin has been sent to the team's spring facility in Arizona to work out. Gaudin has not pitched since Aug. 29 because of soreness in his lower back. He was examined by a team doctor Monday in Chicago, and the Cubs say there is no structural damage. Piniella said Gaudin has some "tingling" in the buttocks area.

--CF Felix Pie was recalled from Class AAA Iowa, and RHP Randy Wells' contract was purchased from the Des Moines farm team. Pie opened the season with the Cubs. Wells was a Cubs prospect who went to Toronto in last winter's Rule 5 draft. The Cubs reacquired him in April. The Cubs want Wells to help fill the bullpen void left by RHP Chad Gaudin's absence.

--SS Ryan Theriot was a last-minute addition to Tuesday's lineup. He left Sunday's game early because of light-headedness. Piniella said Theriot was experiencing dehydration. Theriot singled and tripled in his first two at-bats, scoring both times.

--RF Kosuke Fukudome did not start for the third straight game and for the fifth time in six games. Fukudome has slumped since midseason, but manager Lou Piniella said more work at hitting is not the answer.

"At the end of the year, if you need extra hitting in September, it's not going to do you any good," he said. "You hear about 'all work.' I don't think it works. I think you need to relax. You need to have confidence in yourself, and you need to have fun in what you're doing."

Piniella added that Fukudome would start again "soon," perhaps in this series. Mark DeRosa started the series opener. Fukudome walked as a pinch hitter against the Cardinals and went in to play right field.

--RHP Ryan Dempster is winless in his last three starts, going 0-1 after getting a no-decision Tuesday. He has a team-leading 20 quality starts.

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