Geovany Soto will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Tennessee on Monday in hopes of returning for the Cubs’ series next weekend in Colorado. Sidelined with a strained left oblique, Soto was to be the DH on Saturday in Mesa, Ariz., then travel on Sunday to join the Minor League team. He was to play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Cubs have an off day Thursday when Soto could travel to Denver.
* Newly acquired left-hander Tom Gorzelanny will join the Cubs on Saturday in Florida and throw a bullpen session. Gorzelanny is scheduled to make his debut Tuesday, starting Game 2 of the three-game series at Cincinnati. Adding Gorzelanny gives Ted Lilly a little more cushion as far as his rehab goes.
“The one thing with Ted is we don’t want to rush this situation,” Lou Piniella said of Lilly, sidelined with inflammation in his left shoulder. “We want to make sure he’s properly healed. If we have to send [Lilly] out for rehab, we can do that, too. With [Ryan] Dempster, we didn’t have that opportunity.”
* John Grabow joined the Cubs Friday, and was given No. 43. He wore No. 34 with the Pirates. The Cubs apparently didn’t want to give him No. 34, last worn by Kerry Wood.
“It gives us another lefty, and it gives us an experienced pitcher at the end of the ballgame,” Piniella said of the newest addition. “Grabow gets right-handed hitters out very well, also. He’s got a real nice changeup. It gives us another dependable, reliable pitcher with experience at the end of the ballgame and we don’t have to go to our guys three days in a row like we have had to.”
* Alfonso Soriano got Friday off, part of Piniella’s grand plan to rest his regulars. The one player he’d like to give a breather to is shortstop Ryan Theriot, who leads the team in games played with 99.
* Sam Fuld was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs had optioned right-hander Mitch Atkins to the Minor League team after Thursday’s game.
* Piniella heard about the White Sox getting Jake Peavy. The Cubs had been in hot pursuit of the right-hander this offseason.
“That’s a nice acquisition for the White Sox,” Piniella said. “I think he’ll be ready for the stretch run for them. They’re in the pennant race and they’re a couple games out of first place. It’s good to have that guy added to your arsenal toward the tail end of the baseball season.”
What if Peavy is ready on Sept. 3 when the Cubs and White Sox play a makeup Interleague game?
“Let’s not look that far ahead,” Piniella said.
— Carrie Muskat