--RF Kosuke Fukudome sat out a second straight game because of a strained left hamstring, suffered Sunday. With an off-day coming up Thursday, it's likely Fukudome will sit until Friday, when the Cubs open a series at Colorado. "I'm still going to be very careful," said manager Mike Quade. "I'd love to see by Friday if he's ready to play. It doesn't mean I won't use him off the bench as a hitter. But I'll try to stay away from using him in the field. That's too much danger."
--LHP Doug Davis signed a minor-league deal and will report to extended spring training in Mesa, Ariz. The Cubs also have signed veteran RHP Ramon Ortiz, who is pitching for Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa. The Cubs are without starting pitchers Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner because of injuries, and GM Jim Hendry said the team is trying to rebuild some inventory.
--LHP James Russell, making his first major league start, could not make it out of the second inning. He lasted just 1-2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and five runs, four earned. Manager Mike Quade wanted 45-50 pitches from Russell, and he piled up 55 in the second inning. Russell was coming out of the bullpen. He made two relief appearances this year and 57 out of the pen last season. "I must have done something to (tick) off the baseball gods," Russell said. The Cubs will need a deep outing in Wednesday's series finale from RHP Carlos Zambrano.
--OF Reed Johnson got into the game in the sixth inning and picked up his first hit of the year, a double. With the Astros throwing left-hander Wandy Rodriguez at the Cubs in the series finale, it's a good bet Johnson will start. He's seen only sporadic action so far, so at-bats on back-to-back nights might help. Johnson replaced Marlon Byrd, who went 3-for-3, raising his average to .391.
--RHP Jeff Samardzija, who has struggled with his command in the early going, may have done the Cubs a big favor by pitching three innings in long relief after LHP James Russell was knocked out. Samardzija gave up three hits and two runs in two innings. But if RHP Carlos Zambrano can keep the Cubs close or ahead in the series finale, top late-inning men Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol will be rested. The Cubs may give some thought to giving Samardzija an upcoming start. "I thought (Samardzija) threw as well as we've seen," manager Mike Quade said. "We needed those innings badly. I tip my hat to him."
BY THE NUMBERS
4 -- Right-handed reliever Marcos Mateo, an early-season surprise, has put together four straight scoreless outings, covering four innings. He's walked none and struck out six in that span.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I have one now. My goal is 25, 30, something like that." -- Shortstop Starlin Castro, on recording the Cubs' first stolen base of the season, in the team's 10th game.
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