Rotation Juggled; Gregg Implodes Again

Has Lou seen enough? (GETTY)

The Cubs are juggling their rotation this week. Right-hander Rich Harden will slip back into the rotation Wednesday for the series finale at San Diego. Harden was supposed to pitch Sunday, but that game was rained out. Cubs manager Lou Piniella said then he wasn't sure when Harden would pitch again, and Harden indicated he wanted to pitch sooner rather than later.

Righty Ryan Dempster remains on rotation for Tuesday. Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny will start Thursday's series opener in L.A. against the Dodgers. Rookie right-hander Randy Wells gets bumped from Wednesday to Friday.

Piniella said this shift works better for all involved. It gets Harden back as soon as possible after a quality start last week. For Wells, it gives the rookie what the Cubs believe are a couple of needed days off. Wells has tossed 113 2/3 innings this year since coming up from the minor leagues in early May, and the Cubs want to monitor his workload so he stays fresh for the stretch run.

PADRES 4, CUBS 1: RHP Kevin Gregg blew his sixth save of the season, giving up a game-winning three run homer to Kyle Blanks in the bottom of the ninth as San Diego scored four. LHP Ted Lilly came off the DL to start for the Cubs and pitched six scoreless innings. Cubs batters stranded 10 baserunners.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Cubs are in the middle of a stretch of 17 of 22 games on the road in 24 days. They finish the season with 24 of 40 at home, where they are 35-22.

--OF Reed Johnson may be able to return from the DL on the next homestand, which begins Aug. 25. Johnson has been on the DL since July 30 with a broken left foot, the result of a foul ball. Sam Fuld has filled in ably for Johnson in all three outfield spots.

--LHP Tom Gorzelanny, who won Saturday with five innings, likely will start one of the games at L.A. When Zambrano comes off the DL, the Cubs will move Gorzelanny to the bullpen, but Piniella said Gorzelanny gives them the option of a sixth starter if the Cubs need it. However, Piniella was quick to say the Cubs were not going to a six-man rotation.

ROSTER REPORT

--Gregg surrendered his 12th home run in 56 1/3 innings when he gave up a game-winning homer to Kyle Blanks. Gregg is 23-for-29 in save chances, and Piniella is talking of making a change at closer.

"I think we're going to make some changes as far as what we do in the late innings," Piniella said.

If Piniella opts for a new closer, something he has not wanted to do, his options would be RHPs Carlos Marmol and Angel Guzman. Marmol has been wild, and Guzman is inexperienced.

--RHP Justin Berg was optioned to Class AAA Iowa (Des Moines) to make room for LHP Ted Lilly, who came off the DL to start. Berg pitched in one game, throwing two scoreless innings. Lilly threw 70 pitches in six innings. Piniella had talked of Lilly going 80-85 but decided to pinch-hit for Lilly in the seventh.

--SS Ryan Theriot remained home back in Chicago for a second straight day because of a bad stomach virus. The Cubs hope to have Theriot back Tuesday night. Theriot became ill Sunday, and the Cubs told him to stay home. Aaron Miles started at shortstop.

--LF Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-20 on the just concluded homestand and has not homered since July 29. Jake Fox started and went 0-for-2 with two walks.

--3B Aramis Ramirez returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 8 and had the only Cubs RBI as he singled home a run in the eighth to break a scoreless tie. Ramirez had been bothered by lingering soreness in the left shoulder he dislocated in May.

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