05/31/10 5:57 PM ET
Lilly, Karstens looking for solid footing
By Zach Schonbrun / MLB.com
Lilly threw seven shutout innings against the Dodgers on Thursday, but during the game, Los Angeles infielder Casey Blake accused him of cheating because he started his windups in front of the pitching rubber on the mound.
Blake complained to first-base umpire John Hirschbeck in the sixth and Hirschbeck couldn't tell if the accusation had merit. Ultimately, no fines or penalties were levied.
"If I was doing that, I might have done that a couple times, but I wasn't real conscious of it," Lilly said after the game. "I was just trying to get good footing."
In any case, his footing will be closely watched on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Lilly has a 2.60 ERA in his last four starts, but he hasn't won since April 24. The left-hander faced Pittsburgh just a couple weeks ago, getting a no-decision despite working seven innings and three runs allowed.
The Pirates send Jeff Karstens to the mound in a spot start after several appearances in the bullpen. The left-hander has bounced back and forth a few times already this season, and he will likely take Charlie Morton's spot in the rotation while Morton is on the disabled list.
"He's done pretty well for us," Russell said of Karstens. "He's been really consistent. He did a nice job out of the bullpen. He's the type of guy who can give you innings. He's shown he can pitch in a game where we really need to win. He has a competitive drive to him."
Cubs: Cashner gets the call
The Cubs called up top pitching prospect Andrew Cashner from Triple-A Iowa on Monday after placing reliever John Grabow on the 15-day disabled list with left knee inflammation. Cashner will start out as a middle reliever, but he was a closer at Texas Christian University and could move quickly into a setup role for the Cubs. The 6-foot-6 right-hander was 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA (two runs in 21 innings) with 17 strikeouts and just two walks in five appearances (three starts) for Iowa this season.
"We're going to put him in the middle just to get him started and get his feet wet and hopefully he'll develop into a nice late-inning pitcher for us in the bullpen," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
Cashner made his Major League debut Monday, needing just one pitch to retire Ronny Cedeno to close out the eighth inning.Pirates: Walker assumes second
Manager John Russell benched struggling second baseman Akinori Iwamura on Monday in favor of young infielder Neil Walker, who is batting .292 in his first week since being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis. It is Walker's first chance to play regularly in the big leagues since being drafted No. 11 overall in the 2004 First-Year Players Draft.
"I'm very happy and feel very fortunate for the opportunity," the 24-year-old Walker said. "When I was a kid, when I was younger, I played shortstop, pitched, played third. I never ever saw myself playing second base. Not in a million years."
Iwamura, who is the team's highest-paid player after signing a $4.85 million contract as a free agent in the offseason, was batting .173 with a .274 on-base percentage.
Cubs infielder Mike Fontenot started at second base on Monday, replacing the struggling Ryan Theriot, who was fourth in the NL in hits but has drawn just one walk in May. ... Cubs left-hander Tom Gorzelanny has moved to the bullpen as Carlos Zambrano rejoins the rotation on Wednesday. ... Pirates pitching prospect Donnie Veal will visit with esteemed surgeon Dr. James Andrews this week for a second opinion on an elbow injury that sent him to the disabled list. ... Pittsburgh's .392 winning percentage entering Memorial Day was its lowest since 2006.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.