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Notes: Soriano suffers hamstring strain

Notes: Soriano's injury a hamstring strain

CHICAGO -- An MRI exam on Alfonso Soriano's left leg revealed a minor hamstring strain, and he did not expect to need more than a week to heal. The Cubs medical staff apparently agreed, because Soriano was not placed on the disabled list Tuesday.

The Cubs instead called up outfielder Felix Pie from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday as backup, and optioned reliever Angel Guzman to the Minor League team.

The news that Soriano's injury is a strain and not a tear is encouraging. A tear would've sidelined the Cubs' $136 million outfielder for an extended period.

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"They told me it's not bad," Soriano said before Tuesday's game. "I think maybe a week.

"Thank God it's not a big deal," he said. "It's a little problem. Maybe one week, 10 days."

Soriano wasn't enthused about going on the disabled list.

"I like to play every day," he said. "If they give me the rest, they know what they're doing. If they put me on the DL, they know what they're doing."

Pie made his Major League debut Tuesday, starting in center field against the San Diego Padres. The highly touted outfielder was batting .444 (16-for-36) in 11 games at Triple-A Iowa with one home run, two doubles, nine walks and five strikeouts. The fact that he has more walks than strikeouts is encouraging.

"That's one of the messages we were talking about when we sent him down," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Let's cut down on the strikeouts, let's increase the walks, and let's get better at-bats. That's exactly what he's done. He's followed the instructions almost to a 'T.' He's a good-looking young player with a lot of ability. This gives us a chance to play him and let him gain some Major League experience and we can see."

Pie, who will wear No. 17, got the news around 10:30 p.m. CT on Monday night from Iowa manager Buddy Bailey.

"I said, 'What did you say?'" Pie said of the phone conversation. "After that, I called my family, my people. Everybody is happy. I didn't sleep last night."

He spent all last season at Iowa while most of his Minor League teammates were called up to the big leagues because of injuries. It feels as if the 22-year-old has been waiting a long time.

"It's my dream," he said. "The first time I played baseball, it's my dream to play here in the big leagues. I can't explain -- I don't know how I'm feeling right now."

In Spring Training, Piniella talked to Pie about adjusting his stance and getting him to go wider with his feet and flatten his bat.

"I'm doing things a little different, I'm more spread out and I'm working on my swing," Pie said. "These are things he told me in Spring Training."

Pie will not have to worry about housing in Chicago. Soriano has an extra room.

"That's my best friend on the team, the first guy I met when I came to the Chicago Cubs," Soriano said. "I'm very happy for him that he's in the big leagues."

Piniella didn't plan on easing Pie into the big leagues. He was asked if he had to do something to calm the outfielder down, assuming Pie needed calming.

"Just welcome him to the club and wish him well," Piniella said. "I don't have any tranquilizers to give people."

Right way: Guzman was sharp in his two innings on Monday night, striking out four of the seven batters he faced. The right-hander seems to have found a groove after moving to the right side of the pitching rubber this spring.

"I don't want to make a big deal about it," Guzman said of the switch. "I moved to the side of the rubber and I throw the ball. I'm getting good results."

Guzman has given up two earned runs on eight hits and one walk over 7 1/3 innings, while striking out eight in four games.

"I'm just trying to keep a routine, because as a reliever you don't know [when you'll pitch]," he said. "You have to be able to pitch every day."

His fastball regularly touches 97 mph, while he has a nasty curve that worked well Monday. After battling arm problems the last three years, it's just nice being healthy.

"It makes me feel confident about myself," Guzman said. "That's good."

He will likely start at Iowa, and get more regular work.

Extra bases: Aramis Ramirez returned to the Cubs lineup after missing four games because of tendinitis in his right wrist. The third baseman was batting .406 when he was sidelined. ... Will Ohman served up a three-run homer in one inning of relief on Monday. "We've just got to pitch him a little more," Piniella said. "He needs more work." ... There was a moment of silence before Tuesday's game for the students and others killed at Virginia Tech on Monday. ... Mark Prior was expected to see orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews next week. Prior is trying to get answers regarding his right shoulder. ... Scott Eyre spent two nights in a hospital because of gastroenteritis, and lost eight pounds. "The doctor recommended staying an extra night, and I said 'Sure,'" Eyre said. He's ready to pitch now. ... Cliff Floyd and Daryle Ward met with students from Dunbar High School before Tuesday's game.

Minor matters: Randy Wells gave up six runs on eight hits over four innings in Iowa's 11-5 loss to Round Rock. Micah Hoffpauir had two home runs and three RBIs. Pie was 2-for-4. ... Kevin Hart gave up two runs on four hits over five innings in Tennessee's 7-2 win over Chattanooga. Chris Walker had two hits, including a three-run homer. ... Joel Santo gave up two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings in Daytona's 4-2 win over the Devil Rays. ... Al Alburquerque gave up one run on four hits over five innings in Peoria's 3-1 win over Quad Cities. It was new manager Ryne Sandberg's first home win of the season. Wellington Castro had three hits.

On deck: Carlos Zambrano will try to get back on track when he opens the Cubs' brief two-game road trip to Atlanta on Wednesday night. Zambrano is coming off a weird start in which he gave up one hit over four scoreless innings, then couldn't retire a batter in the fifth. He ended up blowing a 5-0 lead and losing the game, 6-5.

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

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