Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was in the starting lineup Monday night against the Atlanta Braves. Ramirez returned from the disabled list along with outfielder Reed Johnson and reliever Angel Guzman.
Ramirez was out two months with a dislocated left shoulder, and the Cubs missed him. Although they started the day just 2 1/2 games out of first place, they've been mediocre for much of the first half.
"We're healthy now," said GM Jim Hendry. "We're playing better. I think some of problems are behind us. Lou (Piniella, the manager) has always shown a great ability, not only since he's been here but in the past, of being able to right the ship through tough times. I think you're starting to see that now, just like we did in '07."
Ramirez said he was feeling "80-85 percent" after a three-game minor league rehab stint with Class A Peoria. Piniella batted him fifth in Monday's lineup, and he went 0-for-4.
CUBS 4, BRAVES 2: 1B Derrek Lee hit his 16th home run of the season, a two-run blast in the first inning, and the Cubs added two more in the second. Rookie RHP Randy Wells (4-3) worked six innings, giving up seven hits and two runs. Kevin Gregg picked up his 15th save.
NOTES, ROSTER REPORT
--OF Sam Fuld and RHP Kevin Hart were optioned to Class AAA Iowa, RHP David Patton was placed on the 15-day DL with a right groin strain and 3B Aramis Ramirez, OF Reed Johnson and RHP Angel Guzman were activated off the DL. Ramirez, who had been on the DL since May 9 with a dislocated left shoulder, batted fifth Monday night vs. Atlanta.
--IF/OF Ryan Freel was traded to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named and cash. Hendry said the clubs have until Oct. 15 to finalize the deal. The Cubs designated Freel for assignment on July 12. They obtained him in May from Baltimore in a trade for OF Joey Gathright.
--RHP Randy Wells won his fourth straight decision, becoming the first Cubs rookie to win four straight starts since Kerry Wood in 1998. Wells is 4-3 with a 2.48 ERA. He has nine of the Cubs' 52 quality starts.
--1B Derrek Lee has five home runs over his last six games. His 29 extra-base hits are second on the team to LF Alfonso Soriano's 32.
--CF Kosuke Fukudome led off for the third straight game and went 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Since taking over the top spot in the order on Saturday, Fukudome is 5-for-11. Piniella said he'll continue to keep former leadoff man Alfonso Soriano in the sixth spot. When the Cubs face a left-handed starting pitcher, OF Reed Johnson likely will lead off.
--The Sports XChange