Lillibridge, Gonzalez plug gap at 2B in Barney's absence

The Cubs say second baseman Darwin Barney will be able to come off the disabled list for Tuesday night's home game against the Texas Rangers.

In the meantime, they'll try to get by at second with Brent Lillibridge and Alberto Gonzalez. Lillibridge started Tuesday night's game against the Milwaukee Brewers, and he had not reached base in 14 plate appearances. Gonzalez was 3-for-15.

Overall, the Cubs' offense has struggled. As a team, they were 43-for-231 (. 186) entering Tuesday.

“The biggest thing is just do your work,” Lillibridge said. “That's all you can control. There are only so many things you can control in this game. It's preparation. It's your approach at the plate, swinging at good pitches and just trying to hit the ball hard. If the ball drops, the ball drops.

“It can be frustrating at times, especially early, when the numbers are so glaring. It can be a little bit overwhelming at times, but you have to focus on things you can.”

Lillibridge committed an error in the first inning of the season, but since then, he and Gonzalez have played well in the field.

Still, the Cubs miss Barney's Gold Glove defense and his overall presence, according to manager Dale Sveum.

“I'm not pointing fingers,” Sveum said of the offense. “We really haven't been productive anywhere. It's not just there. You miss that defense and the lack of striking out, as well. That defense is the best in baseball. When you lose that, you got a chance of giving up runs and losing games because that defense isn't out there.

“He knows the system of playing guys and reading bats and shifting and whatever. He knows that whole system and understands the pitchers on the mound, the pitches being thrown. There's a calmness when he's out there, there's no question.”

Barney, who is on the disabled list with a lacerated left knee, will play in a minor-league rehab series this weekend at a site to be determined.

Garza throws:Pitcher Matt Garza played long-toss in the outfield before Tuesday's game. Dale Sveum said Garza will throw #8220;a couple more bullpens#8221; before heading out on a minor-league rehab assignment.Garza suffered an injury to his left-lat muscle in late February. The Cubs hope he can return in early May. #8220;He's got to get built up,#8221; Sveum said. #8220;Basically his spring training is starting now.#8221;

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