Stevens Recalled; Hart to Stay Fresh

The Cubs are going to do some roster shuffling to give them some flexibility heading into and out of the upcoming All-Star break.

On Thursday, they optioned right-hander Kevin Hart to Class AAA Iowa. Hart, who has worked as a reliever off and on for the Cubs since late 2007, made his first big league start Wednesday against the Braves. He took the loss, pitching five innings and giving up one run.

The Cubs want Hart to get regular work in the minors, both at Iowa and at another minor league stop while Iowa is on its break. Figure Hart to start at Washington on July 19 or at Philadelphia on July 20.

With four games in three days coming up against the Cardinals this weekend, the Cubs want some bullpen help. They officially recalled right-hander Jeff Stevens from Iowa Friday. Stevens is one of three pitchers the Cubs obtained in the offseason trade for Mark DeRosa.

Stevens' presence gives the Cubs seven relievers for the four-game series, which includes a day-night doubleheader Sunday. Stevens, 25, has not pitched in the major leagues.

NOTES

--LHP Sean Marshall has not allowed a run in his last nine home games, covering 8 2/3 innings. He has stranded 20 of 21 inherited runners.

--SS Ryan Theriot has found Wrigley Field to his liking. He has hit safely in 23 of his last 25 home games. He leads the team with a home batting average of .327 (51-for-156), and he leads the Cubs with 29 multi-hit games.

--CF Kosuke Fukudome is 6-for-17 (.353) since replacing LF Alfonso Soriano in the leadoff spot Saturday. Fukudome hit his seventh homer Wednesday; he had 10 last year. He also committed his first error of the season, letting Martin Prado's single get past him and allowing a run to score in the ninth inning.

--RHP Aaron Heilman saw action Wednesday for the third time in four days. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning. He's lowered his ERA from 5.49 to 3.57 over his last 16 outings. Heilman has pitched on back-to-back games nine times.

--C Geovany Soto's MRI on his left oblique Wednesday confirmed a mild strain, according to the Cubs. He will be re-evaluated Friday. C Koyie Hill may get another start Friday, with INF/OF Jake Fox serving as emergency backup. Fox originally came up through the Cubs system as a catcher.

--LHP Jason Waddell was optioned to Class AAA Iowa after the Cubs reinstated him off the disabled list. Waddell has been out since the middle of June with a non-baseball-related medical issue.

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