NEW YORK -- After Andrew Cashner made his first appearance since early April on Friday night at Citi Field, Cubs manager Mike Quade said it remains undecided whether the right-handed pitcher will be used as a starter or a reliever in the upcoming Arizona Fall League.
"Ultimately, our medical people have to decide what is the best way to move forward with him," Quade said. "I'd like him to be right back where he was, but that's not the smart thing to do and they've got to figure that out."
Cashner threw a scoreless sixth inning against the Mets in his second appearance of the season -- his first since straining his right rotator cuff. Cashner posted a 4.80 ERA in 54 1/3 innings out of the bullpen last season and was moved to the starting rotation to begin 2011. He sustained the injury that has kept him out most of the year during his first start. "If it's a benefit and he can handle it, great," Quade said. "Whether it's him going to the Fall League or guys going to winter ball, there's a lot of offseason stuff that would be beneficial to a lot of these guys."
Chicago's struggles with RISP a trend of late
NEW YORK -- Friday night's 5-4 loss to the Mets was one of several missed opportunities for the Cubs, as Chicago went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and was unable to score a runner from third base with one out or fewer on two different occasions.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, such struggles with runners on base have become a trend the past month and change. Since the beginning of August, the Cubs are hitting just .192 (64-for-332) with runners in scoring position after posting a solid .270 (51-for-189) mark during July.
"It's been a tough go for us in that regard a lot," said Cubs manager Mike Quade. "We haven't been as productive in the middle of the lineup as we'd like."
The Cubs entered Saturday hitting .232 with runners in scoring position, with that number dropping to .225 when there are two outs. The Cubs have batted a healthier .259 overall -- 10th-best in the Majors -- and are hitting .257 since Aug. 1. Though Quade and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo have spent time trying to figure out what happens to their hitters with RISP, a definitive answer has yet to present itself.
"Sometimes you're not as patient as you need to be," Quade said. "Pitchers attack you different and maybe make adjustments to how they have maybe attacked you in your first two at-bats when there were no RBIs involved versus now, and all those adjustments that go into it.
"I know Rudy's talked till he's blue in the face and worked with guys about it -- but ultimately they've got to make the adjustments and try to get it done."
The Double-A Tennessee Smokies rallied from a four-run deficit with a six-run second to take a 2-0 lead over the Chattanooga Lookouts in the best-of-five North Division Championship Series of the Southern League. Game 3 will be played Saturday night in Chattanooga.
The Class A Advanced Daytona Cubs defeated the St. Lucie Mets, 3-1, in Game 1 of the Florida State League Championship Series on Friday night. Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday in Daytona.
Aaron Taube is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.