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08/06/07 7:58 PM ET

Small tear revealed in Soriano's quad

Star not expected back before Labor Day; Cubs stay confident

HOUSTON -- An MRI revealed a one-centimeter tear in Alfonso Soriano's right quad, and he is not expected to return to the Cubs' lineup until Labor Day.

"There's no sense hanging your head," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Monday. "You've got to get after it -- there's no sympathy. We're ready to grind it out, and we've got people who can handle it."

The Cubs promoted Eric Patterson from Triple-A Iowa to take Soriano's spot on the roster but will shuffle the players in left field and the lineup. Ryan Theriot will handle the leadoff duties.

Soriano was able to put some weight on his right leg Monday, and the tear affects one of the four quad muscles. Because his other muscles are so strong, he is expected to recover well. There was no need for surgery, and it's not a season-ending injury.

The outfielder, whom the Cubs signed this offseason to an eight-year, $136 million deal, is expected to start running in two weeks. At that time, the team's medical staff will likely have a better idea of the extent of the injury.

Soriano was sidelined earlier this year with a sore left hamstring, and the Cubs survived. They've also done well when Aramis Ramirez and closer Ryan Dempster missed time.

"We have a deep team," said first baseman Derrek Lee, who also missed some time earlier this season. "Last year, we couldn't afford to lose anybody for any amount of time. This year, we have a lot more talent, we're a lot deeper, injuries don't hurt as much.

"You have to have that [depth] to be a good team," Lee said. "Obviously, you don't replace a guy like Soriano, but we have guys who can step in and do a good job. It's not the end of the world. We feel terrible for 'Sori,' but it's not the end of the world."

Soriano was injured running the bases Sunday night and came up limping after rounding second base. He remained in Chicago and is expected to join the team in Colorado on Thursday.

"He's a showman, he really is," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "He's got a lot of energy, and I think it's good to have him around the baseball team. The players enjoy having him around, and so do I."

"Last year, we couldn't afford to lose anybody for any amount of time. This year, we have a lot more talent, we're a lot deeper, injuries don't hurt as much."
-- Derrek Lee

For now, Hendry said the Cubs will stay in-house and continue to rely on the Minor League system to survive the next month without Soriano. The Cubs began Monday one game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central Division.

"Every time we've brought somebody up this year, for the most part, they've been contributors and earned their stripes," said Hendry, who is keeping an eye on Minor Leaguers like Geovany Soto, Buck Coats and Jake Fox.

"At the same time, we're not going to say we're folding our tents and hope it works out with the in-house guys," Hendry said. "You keep working and keep looking, and maybe it'll end up like it did in '03, when we made two good deals in August that were non-household names in Randall Simon and [Doug] Glanville, and I don't think we win the division without either one of them.

"What we're not going to do is hang our heads," Hendry said. "We're going to keep grinding it out, and I know Lou will keep the guys grinding it out."

Soriano was batting .297 in 104 games, with a team-high 18 home runs and 42 RBIs.

"It's a loss, it really is," Piniella said. "We're going to have to step it up and do without him."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.