8/9 Extra bases

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was scratched Tuesday because of back spasms and is day to day. Blake DeWitt started at third base and batted third, his fifth start at third this year.

* If you had tickets to Monday’s Cubs-Nationals game and can’t attend Thursday’s makeup game, don’t be mad at the Cubs. The game was postponed because of rain and Koyie Hill, the Cubs player representative, said they lobbied to play a split doubleheader on Wednesday. The Nationals were already scheduled to stay in Chicago on Wednesday night and wanted to play Thursday, which was an off day for both teams.

“If our players and their players can’t agree on when to play, then it goes to the union and if they can keep from scheduling split doubleheaders and there’s another option, they’ll take the other option no matter what,” Hill said Tuesday. “The only way we could’ve gotten to play Wednesday was if Washington agreed.”

The two sides presented their preference, disagreed, discussed their options with their respective teams again, and still disagreed.

“At that point, it goes to the [players’] union,” Hill said. “[The Nationals] were flying out Thursday at 3 [p.m.], so for them it made sense. They were going to stay one more night and enjoy our wonderful city and then go to Philadelphia in the middle of our off day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much of a say.”

This was Chicago’s fourth rainout this season, the most since 2009 when five home games were washed out because of the weather. The other rainouts this year were April 19 against the Padres; April 27 against the Rockies; and May 15 against the Giants.

Tickets for Monday’s game will be good for admission to Thursday’s game, which will start at 1:20 p.m. CT.

* Darwin Barney, Andrew Cashner and Blake DeWitt took part Tuesday in a “Play Campaign” clinic for more than 60 kids at Wrigley Field, emphasizing good nutrition and activity. The campaign is sponsored by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in conjunction with the Taylor Hooton Foundation and Athletico Physical Therapy, and was led by Cubs athletic trainer Mark O’Neal and assistant trainer Ed Halbur. Besides sessions on the dangers of steroids and performance enhancing drugs, the kids were treated to mini baseball clinics. Barney talked to them about fielding, DeWitt discussed hitting and Cashner gave some pointers on pitching. O’Neal and Halbur emphasized the importance of staying active.

All 30 Major League teams conduct “Play Campaign” clinics during the season in an effort to fight childhood obesity, which, according to the Center for Disease Control, has tripled in the last 30 years. The kids at the Cubs event were sponsored by Athletico, the official provider of physical therapy to the team, and also by Sheil Park in Chicago.

* Rodrigo Lopez will make his eighth start on Wednesday for the Cubs. He’s 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA so far compared to a 3.72 ERA in 10 relief appearances.

“I’m committed to him right now,” Mike Quade said of the right-hander. “As I look at this thing, we take it four days at a time. We’re going to play Washington, which is in the hunt still. We’ve got contenders the  rest of the month and that’s part of the reason I want to keep the pitching in line, at least a couple of the big three in each series to face these better clubs.”

The big three, in case you didn’t know, are Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.

* The unexpected off day on Monday gave the Cubs bullpen an extra day of rest and they are fully loaded. Said Quade: “That’s always a good thing.”

– Carrie Muskat

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