7/16 Lineup & quick hits

Reed Johnson is playing center and leading off for the Cubs Thursday against the Nationals and lefty John Lannan. It’ll be CF Johnson, SS Theriot, RF Bradley, 1B Lee, 3B Ramirez, LF Soriano, 2B Baker, C Hill, P Harden.

* The Cubs did not find another backup catcher over the All-Star break, and hope to get by with Koyie Hill and Jake Fox. Apparently, Geovany Soto (left oblique strain) may not be sidelined one month.

“We’re exploring other things but we’re also encouraged that Geovany Soto — we’re hopeful — he’s feeling really good the last few days,” Cubs assistant GM Randy Bush said. “We’re hopeful he’s turned the corner and this could be a short term thing. We don’t want to put any time frame on it. We’re encouraged where he’s at.”

Fox was behind the plate at the end of Sunday’s second game of a day-night doubleheader.

“Rather than rush into something, we thought we’d get more information on Geo and see how it goes with Koyie and Jake and adjust if we need to,” Bush said.

* Ted Lilly was back with the team after his All-Star experience.

“It was a special, special time,” Lilly said. “It would’ve been great to break the tradition of the American League winning, but it was a great experience.”

The lefty was rudely greeted by the St. Louis crowd.

“I’ll take the booing,” Lilly said.

Lilly, Jason Marquis and Zach Duke were the only NL pitchers who did not get in the game.

* Ryan Dempster (broken right toe) has been throwing from flat ground and says he’s making progress. There’s no pain, and the inflammation is almost gone. X-rays on Wednesday showed nothing was out of place, which is a good sign.

“I don’t want to rush anything or come to any conclusions and say I’ll be back sooner than I thought, but let’s just say everything feels really, really good,” Dempster said.

* WGN broadcaster Ron Santo is not on this trip. He’s home recuperating from a kidney infection, and was expected back in the booth when the team returns to Wrigley Field.

— Carrie Muskat


Dear Ms. Muskat,
I really enjoy reading your blog. Have you thought about blogging about the signing of Milton Bradley? The Cubs needed a left handed bat. They had an opportunity to sign Raul Ibanez, Adam Dunn or Bradley. Dunn signed for the same money as Bradley. He has 23 HRS, 70 RBI and batting .260 to date. But, this is not a career year. Dunn has hit more than 40 HRS, more than 100 RBI every year since 2004!!! Please, look at Bradley’s stats. There is no comparison, plus Dunn does not get hurt.

Is there some inside story to the Bradley signing that the public does not know? Why would we pass on Dunn and Ibanez for Bradley? By the way Bradley should be in the minors and Fox and Hoffpauir should start, by the numbers.

I was surprised that the St. Louis crowd booed Lilly at the asg. Nevertheless, maybe the knee injury was the reason why he didn’t pitch…Theriot should have been on the all star roster. If the Cubs would have had a better first half he very well may have been an all star (where did Theriot finish with the asg balloting?);…Bradley needs to come up with some big numbers the second half or the Cubs need to get rid of him or send him down to the minors until he can get together..defensively he is ok, but the offensive production just hurts the Cubs. Go Cubs!

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