CHICAGO -- The Cubs were not expected to call up any players on Wednesday when Major League rosters can expand. But they do have a catcher in waiting.
Welington Castillo, who had been with the Triple-A Iowa team, was in Chicago in case he was needed. Cubs catcher Geovany Soto has some swelling in his right knee and the Cubs wanted a backup just in case he was unavailable for an extended period of time.
Because Castillo was with the Cubs until Aug. 22, he is not eligible to be added to the team until Thursday -- 10 days after being sent down. However, if Soto had to go on the disabled list, the Cubs could activate Castillo immediately.
The Iowa team has a half-game lead in the Pacific Coast League Northern Division and there isn't a need for more players other than another catcher on the big league team.
The Cubs were expected to add six or seven players once the Iowa team is finished in the playoffs. Among the candidates are pitchers Justin Berg, Jeff Stevens, Mitch Atkins, and Jeff Samardzija, and outfielders Sam Fuld and Brad Snyder.
One thing the Cubs want to look at for 2011 is whether Tyler Colvin can handle first base. Colvin, who leads all Major League rookies with 19 homers and has only played in the outfield, has been taking grounders at first.
"You've got to find out about the kids, one way or the other," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "You wouldn't do it against a contender. There are still 30 or 20-something games left, and you'd like to find out."
Colvin hasn't played first since his sophomore year of college -- and that was part-time.
"I want him to be able to relax and do it, and if I don't have to, for whatever other reasons, we won't," said Quade, who will rely on his coaches' feedback as to whether Colvin is ready.
Caray statue to get a new home
CHICAGO -- Harry Caray gets a new home base on Wednesday.
The Cubs will rededicate the statue of the legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster in a ceremony prior to their game against the Pirates. The bronze statue will be moved from the corner of Addison and Sheffield streets to Sheffield and Waveland streets near the entrance to Wrigley Field's bleachers.
Caray's wife, Dutchie, will take part in the ceremony. Harry passed away in February 1998.
The first 3,000 fans who are 21 years of age and older that enter the bleachers for Wednesday's game will receive a Harry Caray mask.
Caray joined the Cubs' broadcast team following the 1981 season and continued his White Sox practice of leading the home crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch. He was presented with the Ford C. Frick award and enshrined into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1989.
Quade soldiers on amid Sandberg speculation
CHICAGO -- While Cubs general manager Jim Hendry is in Albuquerque with the Triple-A Iowa team to talk to Ryne Sandberg about the Major League job, Mike Quade is taking care of business in Chicago.
Hendry is in the early stages of the interview process to find a replacement for Lou Piniella, who retired on Aug. 22. So far, Hendry has talked to former Cleveland manager Eric Wedge. Sandberg, currently managing the Triple-A Iowa team, has made it clear he'd like to be the one who replaces Piniella. One option the Cubs may try to sell Sandberg on is being a coach on the big league staff.
Quade has spent 17 seasons as a Minor League manager; Sandberg is in his fourth season. Since taking over for Piniella on Aug. 23, the Cubs have gone 5-3 under Quade.
"The biggest difference to me," Quade said about managing in the Minors versus the Major Leagues, "has been the crush of information I have to process. You process information at the Triple-A level, you've got left-right matchups, but you don't have the specifics and the sample size -- and [Alfonso] Soriano has 40 at-bats off somebody [for example]."
Quade used to rely on handwritten notes when he managing in Des Moines, Huntsville and Rockford. Now, he has complicated computer printouts to decipher.
The other switch from being a third-base coach to a big league manager has been dealing with the media on a daily basis.
"It's a lot more fun talking to you guys after a big win, obviously," Quade said. "It's all good -- and you guys didn't bother me for three, four years, so I guess I'm overdue."
Sandberg, a Hall of Fame second baseman, is in his first year at Triple-A after spending two seasons with Class A Peoria and the 2008 season with Double-A Tennessee. He led the Smokies to the Southern League championship series last year. This year, the Iowa Cubs have a half-game lead in the Pacific Coast League Northern Division.
Quade, meanwhile, just goes about his business. He said he's going to pull rank and skip the coaching clinics, but will still throw batting practice. His parents are heading to Wrigley Field from Naples, Fla., this week and picking up his sister in Indianapolis. His college coach at the University of New Orleans was in town on Tuesday to pose for pictures.
Quade is the 51st manager in Cubs franchise history and the sixth born in Illinois.
Vitters, Jackson to play in AFL
CHICAGO -- Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson, the Cubs' first-round picks in the 2007 and '09 First-Year Player Drafts, respectively, will play in the Arizona Fall League, which begins Oct. 12.
The AFL released its rosters on Tuesday. Vitters has been sidelined with a broken hand after he was hit by a pitch in late July. He began the season at Class A Daytona and batted .291 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 28 games, then was promoted to Double-A Tennessee, where he batted .223 in 63 games.
"Vitters is healthy," Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita said. "He'll start taking ground balls this week. He starts hitting next week. The plan is to be ready for the instructional league [on Sept. 15] when we arrive and he'll play in the Arizona Fall League. He'll get the at-bats he missed and then go to our winter program in Arizona and get ready for Spring Training."
Jackson also began the season at Daytona and hit .316 in 67 games with six homers, 19 doubles and 38 RBIs. He was moved up to Tennessee on June 27 and was hitting .274 in 55 games with five homers, 11 doubles, five triples and 23 RBIs. Jackson was hitting .250 in August.
"It's the first time he's played 140 games," Fleita said of the outfielder. "He didn't get much time off. He's being challenged. As soon as [the Smokies] get into the playoffs, I'm sure his juices will get going."
The other Cubs players who will compete for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL include pitchers David Cales, Chris Carpenter, Jake Muyco and Kyle Smit and infielder Ryan Flaherty.
Cales has pitched solely in relief, appearing in 35 games at Tennessee and compiling a 2.51 ERA with 11 saves before he was promoted to Triple-A Iowa on July 8. A right-hander who was a 24th-round pick in 2008 and "throws from a different angle," according to Fleita, Cales has a 7.43 ERA in 20 games at Iowa.
Carpenter was 8-6 with a 3.16 ERA in 23 games at Tennessee, striking out 100 in 119 2/3 innings. He was moved up to Iowa on Aug. 24 and in two starts did not have a record. At Iowa, he has given up seven runs on 16 hits and six walks over nine innings.
Muyco, a converted catcher, appeared in 40 games at Tennessee (all in relief), where he posted a 3.67 ERA. He has pitched at Iowa this month, with a 4.91 ERA in 11 relief appearances.
Smit was acquired from the Dodgers along with Blake DeWitt for Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot. In nine games in relief with the Cubs' Tennessee team, he's 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA.
Flaherty has played second, shortstop and third. He batted .288 in 101 games with Daytona, hitting nine homers, 33 doubles and three triples with 59 RBIs. In 23 games at Tennessee, he's batting .183 with one homer and two doubles.
"It's a good opportunity to go out and work on playing all the positions he can play," Fleita said of Flaherty.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.