"We're getting better," said manager Lou Piniella.
Piniella had generally good news about his walking wounded as the Cubs moved from St. Louis to Arizona.
First baseman Derrek Lee missed Monday's game after coming out of Sunday's game because of neck spasms. It turns out the problem is a bulging disk, for which there is really no effective treatment other than rest. Lee might be able to pinch-hit Tuesday.
Right fielder Milton Bradley was called out on strikes as a pinch hitter Monday, and Piniella said he would start Tuesday. Bradley has been hobbled since April 12 with a strained right groin.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez worked out at Chase Field Monday as he tested his strained left calf, an injury he suffered Friday. Piniella said the Cubs "pushed" Ramirez and that he might be able to go Tuesday.
DIAMONDBACKS 7, CUBS 2: LF Alfonso Soriano's leadoff homer put the Cubs up 1-0, but they did little else against RHP Dan Haren, who tossed a complete game. LHP Ted Lilly started for the Cubs but ran his pitch count to 96 after five innings. Mike Fontenot hit a solo homer in the eighth for the Cubs, who totaled only three hits.
NOTES, PLAYER NEWS
--C Geovany Soto continues to struggle, both at the plate and behind it. Soto was 0-for-3 Monday, and he's 2-for-13 on the road trip. Soto's season average dropped to .119. The Diamondbacks ran at almost every opportunity, stealing five bases in six attempts. Soto's shoulder bothered him earlier this year, and Cubs pitchers could do a better job at holding runners on base.
--RHP Carlos Marmol threw a bullpen session Monday, and the Cubs said he'll be ready to pitch Tuesday. Marmol twisted his left knee Friday in St. Louis. He came out of that game and missed the next two, plus the series opener against the Diamondbacks. Marmol is the glue that holds the Cubs' bullpen together, and the sooner he gets back, the sooner the other pitchers can stay in their normal roles.
--1B Micah Hoffpauir started in place of the ailing Lee and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Hoffpauir came into Sunday's game to replace Lee, who had to leave because of neck spasms. Hoffpauir homered Sunday; it was the Cubs' first homer since last Tuesday, when Hoffpauir went deep.
--Soriano led off the game with his sixth homer of the year. It was Soriano's 52nd lifetime leadoff homer, putting him one behind Craig Biggio for second on the all-time list but still well in back of Rickey Henderson (81).
--SS Ryan Theriot has cooled after a good start. Theriot was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, and he is 3-for-18 on the trip. Piniella talked of wanting Theriot to drive the ball more, but that style might not suit Theriot, who likes to punch the ball to right field, his opposite field.
--The Sports XChange
IOWA 7, NASHVILLE 3 (CLASS AAA)
At Nashville, the Cubs (13-6) collected 11 hits, including four home runs, in the victory Monday. 1B Jake Fox (2-for-3) paced the offense with two home runs, his 10th and 11th of the season. RF Brad Snyder (3-for-4) added a three-run home run, his fifth of the season. LF Doug Deeds and SS Andres Blanco each finished 2-for-4 with Deeds hitting his first home run. RHP Randy Wells (3-0) picked up the win, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out a season-high seven batters.
CAROLINA 6, TENNESSEE 4 (CLASS AA)
At Sevierville, the Smokies (9-8) allowed 14 hits and committed five errors in the loss Monday. C Steve Clevenger (3-for-4) paced the offense with a season-high three hits to extend his hit streak to five games. He is batting .364 (12-for-33) through nine games. 2B Tony Thomas (2-for-5) picked up his seventh multi-hit game atop the order and is batting .349 through 16 games. RHP Hung-Wen Chen started and received a no-decision, allowing four runs and eight hits in five innings. RHP Brian Schlitter (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, allowing two ninth-inning runs.
DAYTONA 4, BREVARD COUNTY 2 (CLASS HIGH-A)
At Melbourne, Fla., RHP Ryan Searle (2-1) threw five shutout innings to lead the Cubs (9-8) to the victory Monday. Searle allowed two hits to go with a walk and two strikeouts. RHP David Cales worked a scoreless ninth inning for his second save. C Robinson Chirinos (3-for-4) paced the Cubs' offense with three hits, including his third triple and third double. He finished a home run shy of the cycle. 1B Russ Canzler was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts to snap a 15-game hit streak.
PEORIA, CEDAR RAPIDS POSTPONED (RAIN)
Defense has become an issue for the Cubs, and manager Lou Piniella made one significant change…