Darvish to get first post-break start for Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs will come out of the all-star break with a three-game series next weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.

Manager Joe Maddon said Saturday he will go with a starting rotation of Yu Darvish, Jon Lester and Jose Quintana against the Pirates.

It's not certain when or if the Cubs will recall rookie right-hander Adbert Alzolay from Class AAA Iowa. Alzolay started Saturday night for Iowa.

Alzolay got into three games for the Cubs, starting two, after being recalled June 20 and winning in his debut as a reliever that night.

"We haven't popped him in yet at this particular time," Maddon said. "We're still considering some other items other than that first three starting the second half. He always has a chance, I can't deny that. There are certain things we saw that we want him to get better at."

Hoping for Zobrist:

Cubs president Theo Epstein said he does expect veteran infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist to return at some point this season.

Zobrist has been on the restricted list since May 8 as he deals with family issues.

"We expect him back later in the year," Epstein said. "We have a sort of soft understanding of when that might be, but I don't want to put a timetable on it or overly rely on it, either. We're all looking forward to having him back if that's able to happen."

Epstein said the Cubs do miss Zobrist's veteran leadership, but he did not want to put the team's recent struggles on that.

"We do miss him in the clubhouse," Epstein said. "He's such a pro, a veteran and a guy people would turn to when things were going fast. He had sort of seen it all, done it all.

"There have been plenty of days when you look at the lineup and you miss that, but I don't want to make that connection on one guy."

Not hating on Javy:

Joe Maddon said he is forgiving of a player such as Javier Baez, who failed to run out a ball hit to the wall in Pittsburgh on the road trip. Baez wound up on first base with a single.

"Be careful who you're talking about," Maddon said. "Javy plays like with his hair on fire almost 100 percent of the time. So when a guy makes a mistake like that, again, he knows. He knows it wasn't the right thing to do.

"I find it almost fascinating in a sense because to expect our guys to be perfect every day, they're not going to be. I love the way my guy plays. He sets the tone on a nightly basis, and if you make a mistake once in awhile, it's easy for me to overlook that in a sense. Nobody plays harder than he does, mentally or physically."

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