Cliff Floyd, originally penciled in to start in right field and bat fourth Friday night, was a last-minute scratch and left the team to fly home to Chicago to tend to his ailing father.
The Cubs put Floyd on the bereavement list, meaning that the earliest he can return to action is Monday night's makeup game with Houston at Wrigley Field.
Shortstop Mike Fontenot, who turns 27 on Saturday, will be called up from Triple-A Iowa to replace Floyd and spend his birthday with the Cubs in Atlanta. Fontenot, who is currently fourth in the Pacific Coast League in hitting with a .343 average in 53 games, has played in nine Major League games, including two against the Mets in mid-May, when he went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored.
Ironically, Cubs manager Lou Piniella talked before the game about the possibility of bringing up another infielder, specifically Fontenot, to shore up the depleted infield with the injury to third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
"If we looked at another infielder here, the kid would be Fontenot," said Piniella. "We brought him up once for a couple of days. He's played really well down there since he's gone back. I would think that would be the kid that we would bring up."
Aramis still wait and see: Ramirez joined the team in Atlanta and was in uniform Friday night, but, while his status was officially uncertain, his chances of appearing in this series weren't good.
"His knee is sore," said Piniella. "He's going to start getting his treatment and once the trainer gets a good look at him, we'll get a better handle. He's available to pinch-hit, but I don't think he'll play this series, and [he will be back] probably some time the middle part of next week."
While Ramirez was pronounced available to pinch-hit, Piniella declared it would only be in an "emergency-only" situation.
"Obviously we don't want him to re-aggravate it," said the Cubs skipper. "And, in the smallest of instances, if we had to DL him then we could back-date it. But I don't think it will come to that at all."
Minor matters: The Cubs were 2-2 in Minor League action Thursday night, as the Triple-A Iowa Cubs and Class A Daytona Cubs were winners, while the Double-A Tennessee Smokies and Class A Peoria Chiefs came up short.
Iowa first baseman Geovany Soto and catcher Anthony Richie homered, while right fielder Mike Kinkade stole home in the Cubs' 9-6 win over New Orleans. Second baseman Eric Patterson and shortstop Mike Fontenot each went 2-for-5 and scored two runs.
Visiting Tennessee allowed eight unanswered runs in their 10-3 loss to Carolina. Right fielder Josh Kroeger went 3-for-4 with a homer to raise his league-leading average to .386. First baseman Jake Fox had two hits, both solo homers. His 13 homers and 71 hits are tied for second in the league.
In Daytona, center fielder Tyler Colvin and right fielder Chris Amador each went 3-for-5, as Daytona jumped out to a 7-0 lead and held on for a 7-5 win.
Peoria spotted Clinton a four-run lead, then fell short, 6-4. Second baseman Ryne Malone, first baseman Ryan Norwood and catcher Welington Castillo all went 3-for-4 for the Chiefs.
On deck: The Cubs and Braves continue their four-game set Saturday night as former Brave Jason Marquis (5-2, 2.84 ERA) goes for Chicago against Atlanta's Tim Hudson (6-4, 3.09 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 CT.
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.