Notes: Barrett on DL after surgery
Blanco makes first start at first; Baker juggles youngsters
CHICAGO -- The Cubs' injuries continued to mount as catcher Michael Barrett was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with an intrascrotal hematoma.
Barrett was injured in the fifth inning on Saturday when he was hit in the groin by a ball during San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain's at-bat. Barrett stayed in the game, and even hit in the Cubs' fifth, but had to leave because of the pain.
"That's a tough one there -- that one might be the toughest one," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He said, 'Bake, I'm feeling sick, I'm hurting badly.' He tried to tough it out. I don't remember it happening. There are so many foul tips coming back to the catcher."
Barrett was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital Saturday, and an ultrasound revealed the injury. He then underwent surgery, Cubs athletic trainer Mark O'Neal said. Is Barrett done for the season?
"We don't know yet," O'Neal said Sunday. "We have to see how he responds and have to see with the swelling. We're definitely sure he'll miss two to three weeks, and we'll have to see."
Barrett is the 14th player to go on the disabled list this year; the team high is 16 set in 2002. The Cubs have passed the team mark for most stints on the DL, reaching 19. The previous high was 17 set in 1999 and 2002.
"It's been a tough year on everybody," Baker said. "You take two steps forward, and one step back. I'm just glad they found it when they did, and glad they did whatever procedure was necessary. If they'd waited, who knows how it would affect him or his future or his family's future."
O'Neal wasn't sure when Barrett would be released from the hospital.
"I talked to him this morning and he's not feeling real good," O'Neal said. "You see guys get hit and very rarely does it get to this extreme. Michael got hit well enough that we needed to do something about it."
Scorecard: With Barrett unavailable, Derrek Lee taking the day off after playing two straight and John Mabry nursing a stiff back, Henry Blanco was tabbed as the starting first baseman on Sunday.
It was Blanco's first career start at first. He did play there as a defensive sub on Sept. 28, 1997, when he was with the Dodgers. That was Blanco's second big-league game.
On Sunday, Blanco took grounders at first with pitcher Carlos Zambrano helping. Blanco had to borrow Lee's first baseman's glove for the game.
"Nobody I have has played much first," Baker said of his options. "Freddie [Bynum] hasn't played much first. [Buck] Coats, I'm waiting on him to see if he's played much first, but he's played mostly second and outfield. Most catchers, their secondary position would be first base and third base. Most shortstops can play anywhere with practice."
Coats was called up from Iowa to take Barrett's spot on the roster. The Cubs are expected to add another catcher after Triple-A Iowa's season ends on Monday, and the leading candidate is Jose Reyes.
"We're outnumbered now," Baker said.
Mabry is day-to-day with back problems. Lee is limited so he doesn't overdo it with his right wrist.
"It's the best I could come up with," Baker said of the lineup. "It'd be very tempting for me and D-Lee to have him in there today. Right now, he's on two, off one. You try to do what you can to have the best lineup and to win at the same time."
Play time: One of the things Baker also must juggle is when to play the youngsters, like Ryan Theriot and Matt Murton.
"We're all trying to play the kids," Baker said. "Do you play the same kids every day or mix it up to see? You've got to mix it up to see. Murton had a good day the day before, but I don't want [Angel] Pagan to have three days off because then you don't get a true assessment of him.
"If you're going to get a good shot to everybody, you can't have anybody sit around three, four days," Baker said. "I'm trying to give everybody a shot to play."
Good cause: The Cubs' wives and Bank of America will host the fourth annual food drive on Sept. 16, at Wrigley Field. Donations will be accepted from 1 p.m. CT until the third inning next to the Harry Caray statue at the corner of Sheffield Avenue and Addison Street. Fans making a donation of 10 non-perishable food items or $20 will receive an autographed photo of a Cubs player. The items will be donated to the Lakeview Pantry and Cubs Care.
Extra bases: Baker wasn't sure how the Cubs would use pitcher Wade Miller, now that he's activated. "We have to see how his arm feels," Baker said. "He was feeling great and he hasn't been feeling so good lately." Miller, rehabbing his right shoulder all year, was activated Friday. ... Coats arrived in time for Sunday's game. This is his second stint with the Cubs. He went 0-for-3 in three pinch-hit appearances Aug. 22-27. ... Rookie Geovany Soto started at catcher Sunday, his first big-league start. He was called up last September, but got one at-bat. ... The Cubs will celebrate Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.
Sing along: Tyrus Thomas, the Chicago Bulls' first-round pick, will lead the Wrigley Field crowd during the seventh-inning stretch on Monday. The Lemont Little League team, which played in the recent World Series, will be at Wrigley on Tuesday and race car driver Danica Patrick will sing on Thursday.
Minor matters: Coats, Felix Pie, Michael Restovich, Casey McGehee and Luis Montanez each hit home runs in Iowa's 8-2 win over Omaha on Saturday. Jae Kuk Ryu gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits over eight innings for the win. Coats was 3-for-4 with two RBIs. ... Isaac Pavlik gave up three runs, two earned, on seven hits over six innings in Double-A West Tenn's 5-3 win over Chattanooga. ... Class A Daytona's game at Brevard County was canceled because of wet grounds. ... Scott Taylor gave up two runs on six hits over four innings in Class A Peoria's 6-5 loss to Beloit. Davy Gregg had three hits. ... Mark Pawelek gave up two runs on seven hits over five innings and struck out five in Class A Boise's 3-2 win over Tri-City.
On deck: Zambrano will open the Cubs' four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday against lefty Paul Maholm. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and 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.