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Lefty Davis might be up next weekend

Updated: June 7, 2011 12:37AM

It looks as though veteran left-hander Doug Davis fast is becoming the Cubs’ next answer for the fifth spot in their starting rotation.

Davis, whom the Cubs signed to a free-agent deal less than a month ago, allowed two hits in 62/3 scoreless innings Thursday for Class A Day-
tona and next is scheduled to pitch for Class AAA Iowa. If that goes well, he might make his big-league return May 14, when the Cubs next need a fifth starter.

Since injuries landed fourth and fifth starters Randy Wells and
Andrew Cashner on the disabled list after one start each, Casey Coleman and James Russell have produced a combined 1-7 record and 8.54 ERA in those rotation spots.

Russell, who manager Mike Quade repeatedly has said isn’t a long-term starter, returned to the bullpen indefinitely after starting in the Cubs’ loss Monday to the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

As many as eight teams showed interest in Davis before he chose to sign with the Cubs because of the potential to get back to the majors quickly. He can exercise an opt-out clause in his deal if he’s not in the majors by May 30.

‘‘At the time, there were key injuries up in the big leagues,’’ Davis told the Sun-Times before leaving Mesa, Ariz., for Daytona Beach, Fla. ‘‘Not to say they won’t be back by the time I’m ready to be up there. At the same time, I think there’s a spot for me there; I think there’s an opportunity.

‘‘The Cubs aren’t rushing me, which is a nice thing, but it can never be too soon to get back up there.’’

Wells (forearm) and Cashner (shoulder) went to Mesa to continue their rehab work as the Cubs headed home late Wednesday from their West Coast trip. Both are
facing minor-league rehab assignments once their conditioning work is done in the next week or two, putting a return for either at least three weeks away.

Davis, 35, last pitched in the
majors for the Milwaukee Brewers, going 1-4 with a 7.51 ERA in eight starts last season before having
elbow surgery.

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