"It's not doing him or the team any good if he continues to play with it like this," said O'Neal, who confirmed that Lee had been fully cleared to play prior to his return from the DL on June 25. "Derrek had cleared every major test before coming back, including t-ball work, soft toss, batting practice and games. He hasn't regressed, but he hasn't gotten any better, either."
Lee, who returned to the lineup last month after missing 59 games, batted .227 (17-for-75) with four doubles, a home run, 11 walks and four RBIs before Monday's announcement. He missed last Friday's and Saturday's games against the Nationals in Washington, then went 0-for-4 in Sunday's 7-1 loss. He consulted with the Cubs' training staff following Sunday's game, and it was determined that he should take some time off to let his wrist heal.
"I want to be out there and play, but if I can't help the team, then it does no good to be in the lineup," said Lee, who was on the 15-day DL from April 21 to June 25 after fracturing the wrist. "It's tough, and I thought it was strong enough to get back out there. I was excited and ready to go. Unfortunately, I have to stop and let it heal now."
Lee, who is batting .261 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 34 total games this season, will continue therapy for the next two weeks but will stay away from any type of soft toss or batting practice. He said that it hurts to take a full swing, and will make sure his strength is there before taking any at-bats.
Lee finished the 2005 season with a .335 average, 46 homers and 107 RBIs, and the Cubs expected a big season from him this year. He batted .333 with three home runs and 10 RBIs to start the season, and the Cubs went 9-5 before his injury. The Cubs went 19-40 during his first stint on the DL.
In a corresponding move, the Cubs recalled infielder Ryan Theriot from Triple-A Iowa to fill Lee's spot. This is the third time that Theriot, 26, has been up with the Cubs this season. In nine games, he hit .154 (2-for-13) with a double, a triple and three runs. He was the Cubs' third-round selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft and has a .304 average (85-for-280) with 11 doubles, five triples and 22 RBIs in 73 games for Iowa this year.