More Bad News for Cubs on Injury Front

Lilly hampered by knee (STAFF PHOTO/PAM DAVIS)

The injuries just keep piling up for the Cubs. Left fielder Alfonso Soriano was a lineup scratch Friday because of a dislocated right pinkie finger, and ace lefty Ted Lilly will miss Saturday's scheduled start at Washington because of inflammation in his left knee.

First things first, Soriano jammed his little finger sliding back into first base Thursday night after he got hung up between first and second following a single. He said Friday it hurt him to grip a bat, and manager Lou Piniella said Soriano could be out "a few days." Micah Hoffpauir started in left field in place of Soriano.

Lilly, the Cubs' lone All-Star, has been bothered for a "couple starts" by the knee, Piniella said. The injury was not the reason Lilly did not pitch in the All-Star game, according to Piniella.

The plan now calls for right-hander Randy Wells to move from Sunday to Saturday and for the Cubs to recall righty Kevin Hart from the minor leagues to start Sunday.

If Lilly is OK, the Cubs say he will start Monday night's series opener in Philadelphia.

Already, the Cubs have righty Ryan Dempster and No. 1 catcher Geovany Soto on the DL. Infielder Aaron Miles is on a minor-league rehab stint at Class AAA Iowa as he recovers from an elbow injury.

CUBS 3, NATIONALS 1: RHP Carlos Zambrano ran up his pitch count to 113, but he gave up only one run in five innings, giving up only an unearned run. Zambrano hit a two-run double in the second to erase a 1-0 deficit. Kevin Gregg earned his 17th save.

NOTES

--LHP Sean Marshall pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. In July, he's given up two hits and no runs in 6 2/3 innings. As a reliever, he's 1-2 with a 1.53 ERA. He was 2-4 as a starter with a 4.87 ERA. If Lilly has to go on the DL with a knee injury, something the Cubs don't anticipate, the Cubs could move Marshall back to the rotation. They've recently signed veteran LHP B.J. Ryan to a minor-league contract.

--SS Ryan Theriot entered Friday as one of only five major league shortstops with at least 100 hits this year. The others were Miguel Tejada (Houston), Derek Jeter (Yankees), Marco Scutaro (Toronto) and Hanley Ramirez (Florida). Theriot had 178 hits last year, second on the team to Derrek Lee's 181. Theriot's hitting streak ended at nine games.

--RHP Rich Harden continued to shine on the road. At home, Harden is 2-5 with a 7.59 ERA. After Thursday's victory, he is 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA away from Wrigley Field. Harden turned in the Cubs' 56th quality start of the season. That leads the major leagues.

--3B Aramis Ramirez homered with two outs in the third inning. It was Ramirez's fifth homer of the season but his first since May 6. Ramirez dislocated his left shoulder May 8 and missed nearly two months.

--Zambrano ran his record to 6-4. He threw 40 pitches in the first inning and wound up with 113 for the night. His RBI double proved to be his second-game winning RBI in his last two starts. Zambrano's homer last Sunday against the Cardinals proved decisive.

--RHP Kevin Gregg has a 1.71 ERA in his last 26 games dating to May 19. He's given up five earned runs in 26 1/3 innings in that span, lowering his season ERA from 6.06 to 3.38. He's now 17-for-20 in save chances.

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