5/26 Quick hits

Rich Harden, who is on the DL with low back problems, has yet to start a throwing program, so he may not be ready to return when his 15-day stint is up. If Harden was healthy, Lou Piniella said he’d probably move Sean Marshall to the bullpen to give him another left-hander. Right now, Neal Cotts is the only option.

* Derrek Lee is feeling better, but still weak because of the flu. Bobby Scales, also bothered by the flu, was worse.

* Piniella didn’t think Ted Lilly would be penalized for jumping onto the field to argue with umpire Bob Davidson in the fifth inning Monday night. Lilly was ejected.

* How’s the Cubby swagger? “It’s not swaggering very much,” Piniella said. “But look, which team does swagger when they’re in an eight-game losing streak? One thing you can’t do is give in to this thing. You’ve got to keep fighting. You’ve got to believe you can get through it. Invariably, teams that do get through this thing, they’re tough and they’re capable of playing good baseball. We’re finding out some things now. I think we’ll get through it. I think this will turn out to be a fine baseball season, but right now, it’s a struggle. Is it totally unexpected? You really can’t have parts of your team not working well and think you can continue to win. … Right now, it’s not easy for us. We’ve just got to battle through it and can’t give in to it.”

There’s no easy way to get out of this funk.

“How do you eat a ‘*******?’ You eat it one bite at a time,” Piniella said. “You don’t swallow the [darn] thing. That’s how you come out of this thing baseball-wise. It’s one at-bat at a time, one pitch at a time, one inning at a time, one game at a time. There’s no magic formula, no cure all. You’ve got to battle. I’m positive we will.”

— Carrie Muskat

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