Speculation has been rife for a few days that the Cubs might bring up right-hander Jeff Samardzija from Class AAA Iowa to help bolster a struggling bullpen, but manager Lou Piniella seemed to give that bullpen a vote of confidence.
"We're going to pitch them all, like I said," Piniella said. "They're here. We have confidence in them. A few of them have to step it up a little bit. Like I said the other day, we haven't talked about any of our players that are in Iowa at all."
The Cubs got a scoreless inning of work Tuesday out of right-hander Aaron Heilman, who has been reliable for most of the early going.
Piniella got struggling lefty Neal Cotts into the game, and Cotts didn't help his cause as he gave up one hit and one walk in one-third of an inning. Piniella has said he needs Cotts to start throwing strikes. If that doesn't happen, a move could come sooner than expected.
As far as Samardzija goes, he'll likely be back up this year, but the Cubs want him to work on developing all his pitches in the minor leagues for as long as he can.
CUBS 7, REDS 2: RHP Rich Harden worked six innings of three-hit, two-run ball as he evened his record at 1-1. Chicago batters drew seven walks. The Cubs sent eight men to the plate in the second inning and batted around in the three-run fifth. RF Micah Hoffpauir hit his first homer of the year and added a sacrifice fly.
--LF Alfonso Soriano extended his hitting streak to eight games with a sixth-inning double Tuesday. He has hit safely in 11 of the 12 games so far. He also walked, giving him nine bases on balls for the season.
--SS Ryan Theriot upped his hitting streak to four games by going 2-for-4. He's 7-for-14 in that stretch and has hit safely in 10 of 12 games.
--RF Milton Bradley did not start Tuesday as Piniella kept him out again, this time because of cold and wet conditions at Wrigley Field. Bradley has not started since straining his right groin April 12. He has pinch-hit twice since then. With the weather expected to warm up, Bradley could start Wednesday or Thursday.
"We'll play in better weather, and we'll get him in there to play as soon as he's ready," Piniella said.
--C Geovany Soto was back in the lineup Tuesday. He was supposed to get the night off Sunday, but the game was rained out. Soto got off to a 2-for-19 start.
"We've asked him to try to stay up the middle and right-center field for the time being," Piniella said. "Get your swing down. Stay on the ball a little longer. Hopefully, he'll do that. It'll help him."
Soto flied out to right twice, walked and singled to right.
--Harden threw 92 pitches in his six innings Tuesday. That's the same amount of pitches he threw in three innings in his April 15 start against Colorado. Harden got into an early groove against the Reds and stayed in it over his six innings.
--The Sports XChange
ALBUQUERQUE 7, IOWA 0 (CLASS AAA)
At Des Moines, the Cubs (8-5) were held to three hits Tuesday as LF Jason Dubois, C Chris Robinson and CF Brad Snyder (all 1-for-3) tallied Iowa's only hits in the game. Dubois extended his hit streak to six consecutive games to open the season and is batting .458 (11-for-24). RHP Esmailin Caridad (2-1) started and took the loss for Iowa, allowing six earned runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked five batters and struck out four.
TENNESSEE 8, WEST TENNESSEE 7 (CLASS AA)
At Jackson, Tenn., the Smokies (6-5) took advantage of three West Tennessee errors used a five-run second inning in the win Tuesday. Tennessee got two hits apiece from 1B Blake Lalli (2-for-3) and C Steve Clevenger (2-for-3), who hit the go-ahead home run – his first of the season – in the eighth inning. Tennessee used four pitchers in the victory with LHP Jayson Ruhlman (1-0) picking up the win in 1 1/3 innings in relief. RHP Brian Schlitter retired all five batters he faced, notching three strikeouts to earn his second save. LHP James Russell started and was lit up for six runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision. Russell struck out three batters and issued one walk. Tennessee was out-hit, 13-7.
DAYTONA 12, DUNEDIN 0 (CLASS HIGH-A)
At Dunedin, Fla., the Cubs (6-6) tallied a season-high 12 runs and 16 hits Tuesday. Six Cubs players finished with two hits apiece -- 2B Nate Samson (2-for-5), DH Tyler Colvin (2-for-3), 1B Russ Canzler (2-for-5), SS Starlin Castro (2-for-5), LF Jonathan Wyatt (2-for-5), and RF Dylan Johnston (2-for-4, home run). 3B Marquez Smith (1-for-2) came off the bench and hit a three-run homer, his fourth this season. Four Cubs pitchers combined on a four-hitter with RHP Ryan Searle (1-1) starting and tossing six innings of one-hit ball. He struck out two batters and did not allow a walk. RHPs Henry Williamson and Al Alburquerque, and LHP Luke Sommer each tossed one scoreless inning in relief.
PEORIA-WISCONSIN (CLASS-A) POSTPONED
At Appleton, Wis., the Chiefs and Timber Rattlers series opener was postponed due to inclement weather. The game will be made up part of a doubleheader Thursday beginning at 5:35 p.m. CT.
That didn't take long. After the Cubs spent the early part of this week saying they hadn't discussed…