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MIL@PIT: Marcum pitches well in return from DL

The Cubs' season hit a new low Wednesday and the club hopes it won't get any worse.

Chicago fell to 31 games below .500 after losing to Milwaukee, 3-1, but will be looking to reverse that trend and avoid a four-game sweep on Thursday at Wrigley Field.

The mark is the lowest on the season for the Cubs, who are 6-22 in the last 28 games.

Outfielder David DeJesus is no stranger to losing seasons having been a part of the Royals from 2004-2010, years the club didn't finish above .500. He said he tries to keep the same routine and is actively trying to get his younger Chicago teammates to do the same.

"It's showing guys the professional side of it," DeJesus said. "I've been through a lot of losing in my career, so I understand it's tough, and it's not something you want to be a part of. I understand that tomorrow's another game, and tomorrow you have to show up and be mentally ready and physically ready to perform."

Southpaw Brooks Raley will take the mound hoping to turn the tide. He'll be making just his fifth start in the Majors after going 1-2 with a 6.64 ERA in the first four.

Raley is reportedly having his innings monitored by the Cubs' organization and likely won't pitch past the fifth. He threw five innings last time out, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks to go with four strikeouts, earning a no-decision against the Rockies.

The Brewers will counter with Shaun Marcum, whose name is floating amid trade rumors and who could be making his final start with the club. The righty is set to become a free agent and the team is reportedly interested in dealing him before Friday's deadline that would make him eligible for the postseason.

But Marcum, who holds a 5-4 record and 3.19 ERA, said he would not let the trade speculation affect him.

"I have to pitch [against the Cubs], so that is my only focus right now," Marcum said.

Marcum's last start was his first after a two-month long stint on the disabled list because of elbow problems. An error in the fifth inning against the Pirates cost him four unearned runs in a loss in which he gave up five hits and a walk with five punchouts.

Brewers: Gamel could head to Arizona Fall League
• Mat Gamel, Milwaukee's Opening Day first baseman, had knee surgery May 1 that ruled him out for the rest of the season, but he may be able to find his way to the Arizona Fall League.

The Brewers would have to be granted an exception because he has more Major League service than the AFL allows, and he'd have to be healthy enough to play.

Gamel would join eight other prospects, including five pitchers, another first baseman and a pair of outfielders.

Assistant general manager Gord Ash said Gamel's recovery is on schedule since suffering a torn ACL and should be able to resume baseball activities in September.

Cubs: Struggling Rizzo benched Wednesday
• Rookie first baseman Anthony Rizzo wasn't in the lineup Wednesday after batting just .211 with three RBIs in his last 11 games. He pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded into a fielder's choice.

Manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday that the 23-year-old may be thinking too much at the dish instead of "just letting it happen," prompting a session with hitting coach Jim Rowson.

"He's not feeling right at the plate and it's snowballing a little bit now, so you want to stop that from snowballing any further and let him kick back and work with [Rowson] today and get things ironed out," Sveum said.

Rizzo made a splash when he first appeared in the Majors for the Cubs. He was promoted in late June and won Rookie of the Month honors in July after batting .330. On the season, he's hit .283 with nine homers in 55 games.

Worth noting
• The Cubs promoted Brandon Hyde to be their director of player development on Wednesday, replacing Oneri Fleita, who was dismissed earlier in August.

• Ash said pitcher Hiram Burgos could be a September callup for Milwaukee after going 9-4 with a 2.09 ERA for three affiliates this year. Comments