Notes: Lee fields ground balls
Cubs slugger might need another three weeks to recover
ST. LOUIS -- Derrek Lee looked like a first baseman on Saturday.
Lee, rehabbing from a fractured right wrist injured April 19, took grounders at first on Saturday before the Chicago Cubs' game against the St. Louis Cardinals. It's the first time he was able to do that since he had the cast removed on Wednesday.
Carlos Zambrano got into the act, too. As the Cubs pitcher was headed to the bullpen for a side session, he ran to the mound, motioned as if he was throwing a pitch, then fielded a soft comebacker from a coach and threw to Lee at first. It's a typical Spring Training drill, which is what Lee is going through all over again.
Lee could need three weeks before he has the strength and flexibility back in his wrist.
Strong man: In 2005, Scott Eyre had one two-inning outing in relief for the San Francisco Giants. This season, he's gone two innings four times -- and it's not even the All-Star break.
"That's what I do," Eyre said. "I don't care [about the amount of work]. I'll still have the most appearances. It's fine with me."
In Friday's 14-inning, 5-4 win over the Cardinals, Eyre went two innings. Could he pitch Saturday?
"I can, but I think they'll give me the day off," he said.
The left-hander led the Major Leagues in appearances last season, pitching in a career-high 86 games for the Giants. This is the same pitcher who struggled with arm problems early in his career with the Chicago White Sox. He has a durable arm now.
"I like [calling it] God blessed," Eyre said. "After I hurt it in '94, I've never been too sore to pitch. I've been tired, like, 'OK, I need a day off, I'm tired.' But I've never been sore. Some day I'll fly to Birmingham, Ala., and give Dr. [James] Andrews a big hug. That was 12 years ago. I've been lucky. Whatever he did, he fixed the son of a gun good."
Flame thrower: Yes, David Aardsma can throw 100-mph fastballs. The Busch Stadium radar gun posted that reading on Friday night when the Cubs reliever struck out Albert Pujols in the ninth inning.
"I know sometimes I can throw hard, but I don't want to think about it," Aardsma said. "Once I start thinking about what I'm putting up there, I forget about what's next to [the radar gun reading], and that's the count. I can't control it. All I'm trying to do is keep my weight back, throw on top of the ball, and throw strikes."
He may not look, but Aardsma is aware when the stadium scoreboard flashes "100."
"You can't miss it," he said. "Everybody in the world wants to tell you."
There is a buzz in the crowd when fans see that figure.
"You don't really notice that," Aardsma said, "But when you get Albert Pujols to miss it and it's right down the middle, it has to be moving pretty quick. Honestly, that was the last thing I was worried about, was how hard I'm throwing, because I have to throw strikes. If I'm not throwing strikes, it doesn't matter how hard you throw."
Aardsma doesn't exactly look like a 100-mph guy.
"I'm skinny," said the 6-foot-4, 205-pound right-hander.
"I do work on my legs pretty good," he said. "I'm not a big guy, but I do work out. I had some great pitching coaches in the past and they taught me to use my body well. I use it and get the most out of it."
Minor matters: Jae Kuk Ryu gave up five runs on five hits over six innings in Iowa's 6-5, 11-inning loss to Nashville on Friday. Ryan Theriot extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Geovany Soto was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Jeff Deardorff was 3-for-5. ... J.R. Mathes gave up three runs on six hits over six innings in West Tenn's 3-0 loss to Tennessee. Nic Jackson had two hits and is batting .330. Brian Dopirak and Carlos Rojas each had two hits. ... Jake Fox had two hits in Daytona's 11-6 loss to Fort Myers. Matt Weber gave up seven runs, six earned, on eight hits over six innings. ... Peoria split a doubleheader with Fort Wayne. Todd Blackford gave up seven runs, six earned, on six hits over 4 1/3 innings in a 7-0 loss in the first game. The Chiefs beat Fort Wayne, 4-1, in the second game. Michael Billek gave up one hit over four scoreless innings and struck out four.
On deck: Right-hander Greg Maddux will start Sunday in place of Kerry Wood in the series finale against the Cardinals. The game will be broadcast on WGN Radio and WGN TV.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.