Cubs likely to start Wells vs. Brewers

  • Derrek Lee, top, celebrates with teammate Ryan Theriot after hitting a grand slam during the fifth inning Sunday.

    Derrek Lee, top, celebrates with teammate Ryan Theriot after hitting a grand slam during the fifth inning Sunday. Associated Press

Published5/4/2009 12:07 AM

With ace Carlos Zambrano likely out for Friday's start at Milwaukee, the Cubs are going to have to come up with somebody.

That somebody won't be right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who has pitched out of the bullpen since his call-up from Class AAA Iowa on April 23.


Most likely, the Cubs will call down to Iowa, with righty Randy Wells likely being the leading candidate. Wells, a 2002 draft pick by the Cubs, had cups of coffee in the bigs last year with Toronto early and the Cubs later after they reacquired him.

At Iowa, Wells is 3-0 with a 3.13 ERA and a WHIP (walks plus hits per 1 inning pitched) of 1.09.

Righty Mitch Atkins, who had a poor spring, is 1-2 with a 6.99 ERA and is likely out of the immediate plans. Esmailin Caridad started Sunday's rain-shortened game for Iowa and is 3-1 with a 3.65 ERA as he tossed 3 scoreless innings. Jose Ascanio, making the transition from reliever to starter, is 0-1 with a 1.25 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.

Reluctant hero: When Derrek Lee hit a grand slam in the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie, the Wrigley Field crowd of 40,457 wanted a curtain call. So Lee obliged.

"It felt good; I didn't know if I wanted to come out, because they've been booing me every at-bat," Lee said, laughing.

Lee has 3 homers and 15 RBI to go along with a .219 batting average, a .263 on-base percentage and a .360 slugging percentage. He said he doesn't let the booing get to him.

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"It doesn't bother me," he said. "I just go play the game and concern myself with helping the team win. The fans are free to do what they want to do, so it doesn't bother me."

Mighty Mike: Mike Fontenot hit his fifth homer of the season in the fourth inning. He had 9 in 243 at-bats this year. More important, it put him back in the bragging-rights game with his LSU buddy, Ryan Theriot, who hit a grand slam Friday and a 2-run homer Saturday.

"I'm trying to keep up with him," Fontenot said. "He's been really stroking it the last few days. He always lets us know. He comes in the clubhouse looking for different things to say every day."

This and that: Third baseman Aramis Ramirez (calf) took grounders Sunday morning, but did not play, but manager Lou Piniella said he's "almost sure" for tonight's series opener with the Giants. ... Mike Fontenot has a four-game hitting streak, going 6-for-13. ... Ryan Theriot was 2-for-4, extending his streak to six (9-for-26).


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