UPDATE: Injured Cubs Are Making Good Progress

Jake KarmelCorrespondent IIJuly 19, 2009

PHOENIX - OCTOBER 04:  Pitcher Ted Lilly #30 of the Chicago Cubs talks with catcher Geovany Soto #58 in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Two of the National League Divisional Series at Chase Field on October 4, 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Saturday got off to a good start when the questionable Alfonso Soriano was added to the Cubs' lineup before their night game versus the Nationals.

Soriano, who had a swollen finger on his right hand, came out with a bang and helped lift the Cubs to their 6-5 victory with a home run in the sixth inning. That was Soriano's first home run in over seven weeks.

Things are looking up for the All-Star left-hander, Ted Lilly. Lilly was supposed to pitch on Saturday but was replaced by Randy Wells due to some inflammation in his knee. Lilly said he could have pitched on Saturday if he really needed to.

Lilly told cubs.com that the only thing the knee is doing is holding him back from doing a lot of work on his off days to stay in shape. He said, "It's nothing major."

Dempster isn't far off from returning either. He pitched a side bullpen session on Saturday. This was his first time throwing off a mound since he was placed on the disabled list July 5 for a broken toe. Pinella called the bullpen session, "Okay."

Piniella stated on cubs.com about Dempster's progress. "The bone has to start showing calcifications and fusing together, and that's what we're waiting for. I think before we make any concrete determination [as to when Dempster can pitch], he'll have to get another X-ray. He threw today and he was OK. He passed the first test. Before we can push him any further, he'll have to get another X-ray."

Dempster expects to have another X-ray on Thursday when the Cubs return to Chicago from their road trip in Washington and Philadelphia. If all goes well, Dempster could go throw a simulated game instead of go back to the minor leagues and be inserted back into the rotation by late July.

Catcher, Geovany Soto is still rehabbing at the Spring Training facility in Mesa, AZ. He is expected back in early August if all continues to go well.

 

Jake Karmel