Notes: Bat rehab on deck for Lee

Notes: Bat rehab on deck for Lee

HOUSTON -- Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, rehabbing from a fractured right wrist, could start swinging a bat next week if he continues to make progress.

Cubs athletic trainer Mark O'Neal said Lee is doing well, but added the first baseman is realizing he isn't going to get the cast off and instantly be back to his normal, Gold Glove, batting-champion self.

"For me, it's coming along real well," O'Neal said Wednesday. "[Lee] just made the comment [in the trainer's room] and I think his expectations coming out of the cast were too high for himself. I don't think he realized how stiff and weak the joint was going to be when he came out."

The emphasis on Lee's rehab is to get better range of motion and strength. O'Neal said he can't set a definite date for Lee's return.

"Right now, I'd say the middle of next week he could be swinging," O'Neal said.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker also has avoided putting a date on Lee's return.

"In my mind, I don't have a date right now," Baker said. "You have a hopeful date, but you don't have a real date. He has to start hitting first and has to throw. He was in that cast for a long time.

"If he comes back too soon, will he be Derrek Lee, No. 1, or is he going to re-injure it for this year or ensuing years? You don't know," Baker said. "I've had three hand operations and it's not easy."

Day of rest: Jacque Jones did not start Wednesday because of a sore back.

"Jacque's back has been bothering him for about a week," Baker said. "I thought it would be good, day game after night game, to give him a break."

Jones was batting .309 overall and 14-for-28 in his last seven games. On this road trip, he's 11-for-21 with two homers, three doubles and four RBIs.

"He wants to play and I overruled him," Baker said.

Young arms: Kerry Wood is questionable for Sunday's start in Cincinnati because of stiffness in his shoulder, and rookie Carlos Marmol could get the call. Marmol, who was called up from Double-A West Tenn, has struck out six in four innings of relief over two games.

"I love his stuff," Baker said of Marmol. "That's why we got him up here. I've seen more guys have success coming out of Double-A as pitchers than position players.

"In a perfect world, I'd prefer to leave him in this position of long relief as a young player," Baker said. "He might be forced into action. I've seen some great ones start in long relief. The main one was Pedro Martinez."

Draft day: The Cubs selected six right-handed pitchers, four outfielders, three infielders and two catchers on the first day of the draft Tuesday.

Among the Cubs' picks was Joshua Lansford, a sixth-round selection and son of former big leaguer Carney Lansford. The Cubs tabbed outfielder Tyler Colvin of Clemson in the first round, 13th overall.

The final 32 rounds of the draft will be completed Wednesday.

Are you ready for some futbol? Carlos Zambrano is a huge soccer fan and is excited about the upcoming World Cup, which begins Friday in Germany.

"Am I going to watch? Of course, I'm going to watch," Zambrano said. "Brazil is going to win. Those Brazilian guys can play. My favorite player is Roberto Carlos. I also like Ronaldhino. He's like A-Rod in baseball. You name it, he can do it. Italy has a good team, too. I like the way they play.

"I'll watch before batting practice," he said. "I think we are going to be in Cincinnati the first day when Germany plays. I'll watch in the clubhouse. They start around 2 o'clock, and that's the time I get to the ballpark, so it's perfect. We will be watching the World Cup. Trust me."

Santo update: WGN Radio broadcaster and former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo continues to recover in Chicago from a viral infection.

Santo will not appear at O'Brien Field in Peoria on Saturday, when the Peoria team celebrates Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation night, but will be replaced by former Cubs pitcher and broadcaster Steve Stone.

IPMR facilities are located all over the country and help rehab patients who have suffered from serious injuries or harm.

Minor matters: Les Walrond threw eight shutout innings in Triple-A Iowa's 3-0 win over Oklahoma on Tuesday. Walrond struck out six and gave up four hits. Felix Pie hit a solo homer for his sixth of the season. Micah Hoffpauir was 3-for-5. ... Randy Wells threw seven shutout innings in Double-A West Tenn's 1-0 win over Tennessee. Wells struck out seven. Chris Walker homered and Eric Patterson, batting .400 (6-for-15) over his last four games, had a hit. ... Mark Holliman gave up two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings in Class A Daytona's 2-1 loss to Jupiter. Jake Fox had three hits and one RBI, and leads the Florida State League with 51 RBIs. ... Scott Taylor gave up four runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings in Class A Peoria's 6-4 win over Burlington. Ryan Norwood and Kyle Reynolds each had two hits.

On deck: Left-hander Glendon Rusch will be rematched with Bronson Arroyo for the third time this season in the first game of a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday at 6:10 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on WGN Radio and WGN TV. Arroyo hit two home runs off Rusch in two games in April.

"He's been swinging it good all year," Rusch said of Arroyo. "I need to worry about pitching the rest of the lineup tough, and hopefully we're swinging the bats well against him."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.