Cubs welcome Lieber back to rotation

Lieber welcomed back to rotation

CINCINNATI -- He's back.

Jon Lieber is back in the Cubs rotation and will make his first start on Wednesday to close the series against the Cincinnati Reds.

This will be Lieber's first start as a Cub since Aug. 1, 2002. He began this season in the bullpen as a long man, and his longest stint so far has been 4 1/3 innings. Don't expect a complete game.

"They're probably looking 70, 80 pitches," Lieber said. "At least I should be able to get to the fifth, sixth inning. If I can keep my pitch counts down, the longer I can go out there."

Lieber will be making his first start since June 20, when he was with the Philadelphia Phillies. His season ended after 14 games (12 starts) because of foot problems. The Phillies put Lieber in the bullpen without giving him much notice last season, and he was surprised by the move. This year, he knew that was an option with the Cubs.

"Last year, I didn't take it very well," he said of relief work. "I approached it the wrong way. I don't think I gave it a fair chance like I should have. I knew going into this year it was a possibility. I wasn't going to take anything for granted. I was prepared for it this year more mentally than anything."

He didn't expect to squeeze into the Cubs rotation, but Rich Hill's recent assignment to Triple-A Iowa prompted the move. Hill made his first start for the Iowa Cubs on Tuesday.

"Whatever the club needs me to do, I'm willing to do it," Lieber said. "It's an unfortunate thing to me, because I think Rich Hill is a Major League pitcher. Right now, it's command issues. He'll be back up here soon. We need him to be where he needs to be to help us win."

Pitching matchup
CHC: RHP Jon Lieber (2-1, 1.86 ERA)
Hill was demoted after his last start against St. Louis, when he walked four of the six batters he faced in the first. Lieber is the Cubs' last 20-game winner, doing so in 2001. He is 11-8 with a 4.04 ERA against the Reds lifetime, and this season gave up three runs in one inning of relief April 17 at Wrigley Field. He last started against Cincinnati on April 20, 2007, with the Phillies, and threw 5 2/3 shutout innings.

CIN: RHP Edinson Volquez (4-1, 1.27 ERA)
One mislocated changeup was the difference for Volquez in a 2-0 loss to the Braves on Friday. The right-hander struck out nine and gave up four hits over six innings. But after an error in the outfield, a changeup over the middle of the plate to Brian McCann went for a two-run homer. It was the right-hander's only bad pitch and the first homer he has given up in six starts.

Tidbits
Mark DeRosa did not start Tuesday, only the second game he has not been in the starting lineup. DeRosa was 1-for-12 on this road trip. Ronny Cedeno got the start at second. "[Cedeno's] going to tell me how much he wants to play," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. ... Scott Eyre is expected to be activated from the disabled list for the weekend. The left-hander has been rehabbing a strained elbow. On Tuesday, he gave up one run on two hits, including a home run, and struck out two over one inning for Iowa. Eyre followed Hill, who made his first Minor League start of the season and gave up two runs on seven hits and one walk over five innings. Hill struck out five. ... Jeff Samardzija struck out five over 5 2/3 innings in Double-A Tennessee's 6-1 win over Chattanooga on Monday. He helped himself by hitting a double, and now is 3-2 with a 3.44 ERA. ... Mark Holliman was assigned to Tennessee after going 1-1 with a 5.16 ERA in five starts for Iowa. Holliman, who threw a seven-inning no-hitter last year for the Smokies, had walked 12 and struck out 14 over 22 2/3 innings for Iowa. ... Jake Fox is batting .500 (9-for-18) with five doubles, two homers and eight RBIs over his last four games for Iowa.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• CSN Chicago

On radio
• WGN 720

Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Cubs (Ted Lilly, 2-4, 5.97) vs. Diamondbacks (Dan Haren, 4-1, 3.12), 1:20 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Cubs (Ryan Dempster, 4-1, 2.72) vs. Diamondbacks (TBD), 2:40 p.m. CT

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