PHOENIX -- Cubs manager Mike Quade said on Saturday that barring any last-minute changes, left-hander James Russell will probably get the spot start for Monday night's game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Quade said prior to his club's game against the D-backs at Chase Field that he still wanted to have a conversation with general manager Jim Hendry before firming up the decision, but Russell is the way that he's leaning. However, the Cubs could still dip to into the Minor Leagues for a starter.
"That's what I don't know," Quade said. "If we go in-house, then Russ is going to pitch. But if something else has taken place within the last 24 hours, [Hendry] can bring that to me and we can make a decision. Obviously, anybody who pitched [Friday] night wouldn't be available. But there could be something else."
Russell has been a spot starter and reliever for Quade during the first month of the season, starting three times in his seven appearances. He's 1-3 with an 8.31 ERA.
Quade ejected for first time as Cubs manager
PHOENIX -- Mike Quade was ejected for the first time as Cubs manager in the ninth inning of his club's 5-3 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field on Saturday evening. And just like one might expect, as animated as he was on the field arguing a call with second-base umpire Dan Bellino, that's how contrite Quade was afterward.
"I'm very angry and very wrong," Quade told the media. "Dan got it right. I couldn't believe that [Stephen] Drew made the play and stayed on the bag."
Marlon Byrd opened the inning with a single, and when Geovany Soto tried to bunt him over, D-backs closer J.J. Putz threw to the shortstop Drew, who was covering second. Drew had to stretch to his right to make the catch, but Quade said after he looked at replays it appeared that the throw didn't pull Drew's foot off the bag as he initially thought.
"The guys in here [the clubhouse] were great," Quade said. "I walked in and [growled], safe or out? They said, 'Well, it was close.' So I knew I was wrong. Everybody's got a tough job to do, including [the umpires]. When you're wrong, you say you're wrong. They got it right. I wish one of my coaches had grabbed me and told [me that]. In fact, they were trying to, but I was out of the dugout too quick."
After the incident, the Cubs stayed on it, snapping a 3-3 tie on run-scoring singles by Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro to win for the second time in as many nights.
Barney said his manager's ejection was an "8.5" on a 10 scale.
"He knows what he's doing. He knows how to fire us up," Barney said. "He's as passionate about the game as we are."
Drew said there was no question in his mind that Byrd was out.
"I thought I was on the bag," Drew said. "You have to go where the ball takes you, but it still felt like I got the bag."
Quade disappointed with April results
PHOENIX -- The month of April hasn't been very kind to the Cubs, but it could have been worse.
When asked to assess his club's 12-14 first month on Saturday, manager Mike Quade said: "Not as good as I would've liked."
The Cubs survived a month in which the back end of their starting rotation was short because of injuries, Ryan Dempster complied a Major League-worst 9.58 ERA and Carlos Pena hit .159 with no homers and five RBIs. But Alfonso Soriano set a club record for April with 10 homers.
"Plenty of good things went on, and plenty of things can and will get better," said Quade, who's in his first full year of managing the club. "Nobody ran off with the [National League Central] division early, which is a good thing no matter how you're playing. We've talked about it ad nauseam. We've got to be consistent on the mound. We're hanging around.
"I say it all the time, 'We need to play better.' And I think there's reason to think we will."
The Cubs went into Saturday night's game against the D-backs at Chase Field losers of six of their last eight games, but coming off a 4-2 victory on Friday night that snapped a modest four-game losing streak.
Pena out again, but still Cubs' first baseman
PHOENIX -- Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena was dropped from the lineup for the second consecutive game in lieu of .392-hitting Jeff Baker on Saturday against the D-backs at Chase Field. Pena, signed as a free agent this offseason, is hitting .159 with no homers and five RBIs.
Pena was so concerned that he had a closed-door meeting before Saturday night's game against the D-backs with manager Mike Quade about his situation. Quade told Pena not to worry. He'll be back in the lineup for Sunday's closer of the four-game series.
"This is the toughest part of my day," Quade said about making out the lineup. "You're trying to put together a group that's going to win a ballgame, and here we've got a guy like Baker who's hot as heck. I thought about it long and hard, but I decided to give [Pena] another day. He'll be back in there [Sunday], and [we'll] see if we can get him untracked. These are the tough decisions you have to make.
"He and [Tyler] Colvin are struggling, and you'd like to get them going, but you're also trying to win a ballgame."
Quade said there's no way -- at the moment -- that Baker will supplant Pena as the starting first baseman. The Cubs signed Pena to a one-year, $10 million contract despite the fact that he batted .196 last year for the Rays with 28 homers and 84 RBIs. Pena was a .227 hitter, albeit with 39 homers and 100 RBIs, for Tampa Bay in '09.
"There are no guarantees in life, so it's conceivable that Baker could win the job," Quade said, "but my deal is that Carlos was signed here to be the first baseman. Baker is going to play all over the field. We're going to need Carlos to contribute."
Pena replaced Baker as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning on Saturday. Baker complained about a sore left shoulder and Quade said after the 5-3 victory that he was day to day.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.