5/1 Caridad update & the 'pen

Rookie Esmailin Caridad was to throw one inning in Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, and if all goes well, the right-hander could join Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday for a couple rehab appearances. Caridad is on the disabled list with a strained right forearm and has been rehabbing in Mesa at the Cubs’ Spring Training complex.

“I would think if everything is right, he could be joining us by next weekend in Cincinnati,” Lou Piniella said Saturday. “That’s the plan if everything goes right.”

Caridad was projected as the Cubs’ primary set-up pitcher but with his injury, the team moved Carlos Zambrano into that role. That will remain unchanged when Caridad returns.

“I think it’ll make us a little deeper from the right side,” Piniella said of the bullpen makeup when Caridad comes back. “We haven’t discussed what we’re going to do, assuming he’s there next weekend. It’s still too far away. But it’ll be one of the young pitchers he’ll be replacing.”

Which would mean one of the young right-handers — Justin Berg or Jeff Gray — could be re-assigned.

— Carrie Muskat

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