PITTSBURGH -- Injured pitcher Andrew Cashner threw a bullpen session before Monday's game, his second this week. Though it was a beginning step as he works back from the disabled list, Cashner was ready to do more.

"I saw him on the elevator on the way to the park this morning and I thought maybe he was starting tonight," manager Mike Quade said. "You talk about a kid that's going nuts. He's so anxious to get started. We're going to have to put the reins on him a little bit. ... But if it was up to him, he'd be on my card tonight."

Cashner's goal is to be off the disabled list in 2-3 weeks. Quade was less optimistic.

"Just to see him pitch healthy, somewhere, before the end of this thing would give me a big lift," Quade said.

Cashner was placed on the 60-day DL in early April with a strained right rotator cuff. He had made just one start, on April 5, in which he allowed two hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings.

The right-hander suffered a setback in May when an MRI showed he had re-aggravated the injury, but said rehab has been going well since then. He said he threw about 20 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday and 22 pitches on Monday. He was scheduled to throw again on Thursday.

"We just went on how it felt, we went week-to-week, and now my shoulder feels really strong," Cashner said. "I don't see any reason why I won't pitch again this year."

Quade said he would like to see Cashner return as a starting pitcher when he is healthy.

"It was a short window, but the last couple starts of Spring Training and his first start of the year, I absolutely loved what I saw," Quade said. "To see that every fifth day, if he could continue to improve on the power sinker and the curveball, that's something I would love to see."

Aramis sits with tight quad

PITTSBURGH -- Aramis Ramirez was held from Monday's lineup due to tightness in his quad and is considered day-to-day.

Ramirez first felt the tightness in the sixth inning of Sunday's game against the Cardinals, manager Mike Quade said. He did not know if a specific play caused the quad to tighten up.

"I think he'll be fine," Quade said. "We'll see how it is tomorrow. I want to see if he can give me an at-bat tomorrow if I need it."

Ramirez, who led the Major Leagues with nine home runs in the month of July, has been hitless in his last five games, going 0-for-17 in that stretch. Quade said the slump didn't affect the decision to keep Ramirez out of the game.

"It's always tough when you've got a guy that hot and [then] he goes for a 1-for-10 or 12," Quade said. "You don't think it's going to last very long."

Deja vu all over again for Lee

PITTSBURGH -- Since he was traded from the Cubs last season, Derrek Lee has played for the Braves, Orioles and, now, the Pirates. Lee was traded to the Pirates on Saturday and was in the lineup for Monday's game against his old team.

"Four teams in a year, it's like my head's spinning," Lee said. "I have to check and see what color I'm wearing."

Lee, who was with the Cubs from 2004-10, was traded to Atlanta in August last season right before the Braves played a three-game set at Wrigley Field. Once again, his first game after being traded is against the Cubs. He has not played Chicago this season, as the Orioles and Cubs did not meet in Interleague Play.

Though Lee has not been with the Cubs for a year, he sympathized with the team's hardships this season.

"I'm really close to those guys. It's hard to see them struggle," Lee said. "I thought they would have a good year this year, especially because of that rotation. But we all know baseball's a crazy game. They had some tough injuries right out of the gate.

"You hate to see them struggle like that, but hopefully they can finish strong like they did last year."

Lee was welcomed to PNC Park with a resounding ovation from the Pirates fans, but was unable to produce in his first at-bat as Carlos Zambrano stuck him out swinging.

Worth noting

• Closer Carlos Marmol recorded his 20th save Sunday in the Cubs' 6-3 win over St. Louis. Marmol has been inconsistent this season and was even temporarily removed from the closer role, but manager Mike Quade said the save showed he was on the right track.

"I was as anxious as anybody to see him yesterday," Quade said. "The first three sliders he threw to [Lance] Berkman, I felt pretty good about it."

• Right fielder Reed Johnson, who missed time last week due to back spasms, was in the lineup for the second straight day Monday. He is 8-for-12 lifetime against Pirates starter Paul Maholm with three doubles and a walk.

"I wanted to see Reed play two days in a row to see where we're at. He's got stupid numbers against this guy," Quade said.