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DeRosa says he'll be ready for Game 1

DeRosa says he'll play Game 1

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MILWAUKEE -- Mark DeRosa was able to run and test his sore left calf Sunday and said he will be ready to go when the Cubs open the National League Division Series on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

DeRosa did not play in the Cubs' regular-season finale Sunday, a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee, but was able to work out. He'll do so again on Monday at Wrigley Field.

"I feel like I'll be ready to go," he said.

So, no question about being ready for Game 1?

"There is no question at all," he said.

DeRosa finished the regular season with career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (87) and a .285 average. When asked if the versatile DeRosa will be ready when the playoffs start, Piniella went from very positive to cautiously optimistic.

"Yes, he'll be ready Wednesday," Piniella said. "We don't know -- let's just say we think he'll be ready Wednesday. We think."

Whether DeRosa is ready will not affect the final decisions on the playoff roster, which will be announced Tuesday. Piniella was to meet then to set it with general manager Jim Hendry and assistant general manager Randy Bush.

Piniella can't name his Game 1 lineup just yet. The Cubs are still waiting to see if they'll play the New York Mets or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"The choices are going to be DeRosa is going to play right field and [Mike] Fontenot is going to play second or DeRosa is going to play second and [Kosuke] Fukudome is going to play right," Piniella said. "If it's the Dodgers, we'll be facing right-handed pitching. If it's the Mets, then we'd play our left-handed lineup anyway. Then it depends on whether DeRosa can play the outfield. If that's the case, I'll play Fukudome in right against left-hand pitching, too."

Fukudome hit a two-run homer in Saturday's 7-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, who are still battling for the NL Wild Card spot, while Fontenot had two hits and three RBIs. Piniella chose to sit Fukudome on Sunday against Milwaukee lefty CC Sabathia.

"I didn't put him in there today, because he had a good day [Saturday]," Piniella said. "I wanted to leave it nice and positive. This guy [Sabathia] is tough on left-hand hitters -- he's tough on everybody, but especially left-hand hitters, so we didn't play [Fukudome] today."

Cubs rookie catcher Geovany Soto did not start Sunday to give him an extra day to heal some irritation in his left hand.

"Soto's fine," Piniella said. "If he needed to play today, he could. We're just going to be cautious with it and not play him. He'll be ready to go on Wednesday. That's definite."

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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