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Soto goes on DL; Castillo called up

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Gerald Laird left tags Chicago Cubs' Aramis Ramirez out home off throw by center fielder Colby

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Gerald Laird, left, tags Chicago Cubs' Aramis Ramirez out at home off a throw by center fielder Colby Rasmus during the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 11, 2011 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Updated: June 13, 2011 2:05PM

Even as catcher Geovany Soto was put on the disabled list Wednesday because of a groin injury suffered in Tuesday’s game, the Cubs were optimistic Soto will need only the required 15 days to return to the lineup.

But even if the best-case scenario plays out, the injury comes at a particularly tough time for a club — in particular, a pitching rotation —trying to rebound from a slow start while navigating a rough stretch on the schedule.

Through Tuesday, the Cubs had quality starts in six of their previous 10 games after having only six in their first 24. And after they finish this series against the first-place
St. Louis Cardinals today, they face another three straight series against winning teams, followed by three games in Boston against a stirring-to-form Red Sox team.

‘‘I’m committed to getting better as fast as I can to come back and help the club,’’ said Soto, who was hurt when he slipped blocking a pitch in the dirt in the first inning.

Soto, who said he thought about trying to stay in the game after that inning, said Wednesday’s MRI exam could have been worse, leading to the optimistic prognosis despite the often-nagging nature of such an injury.

Soto is scheduled to head to the team’s rehab facility in Mesa, Ariz., when the homestand concludes Sunday and rejoin the team near the end of the month at home.

Meanwhile, rifle-armed Welington Castillo, who debuted last summer and was especially impressive this spring, was recalled from Class AAA Iowa to share catching duties with Koyie Hill.

Hill started Wednesday, but Castillo will get an opportunity to earn regular playing time in Soto’s absence, manager Mike Quade said.

‘‘We’ll see,’’ Quade said. ‘‘Things get earned around here. He didn’t come here just to back up and play once a week.’’

Davis on tap

After limiting Doug Davis to 59 pitches in a five-strikeout, no-walk start Tuesday for Iowa, the Cubs officially announced the left-hander will face the Giants on Saturday in his Cubs debut.

Signed as a minor-league free agent the first week of the season when Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner went on the DL at the same time, Davis made only two minor-league starts since completing his extended-spring work April 30.

He takes the fifth-starter slot that reliever James Russell filled for four starts.

‘‘He looks like he’s right back where he used to be,’’ general manager Jim Hendry said of the former Cubs nemesis who last pitched for Milwaukee in 2010 before elbow surgery. ‘‘In fact, I thought there was maybe a little more crispness when I saw him in Mesa [April 30] than I did last year in the big leagues.’’

Davis, who had an opt-out clause if not promoted by the end of the month, makes a prorated $900,000 on the big-league side of his contract, with a possible $825,000 in incentives and bonuses.


Wells (forearm) is scheduled to pitch an extended-spring game today, and if all goes well, he could start a minor-league rehab assignment five days after that. Cashner (shoulder) is on the same rehab plan, three or four days behind Wells, Hendry said.

◆ Quade addressed Tuesday’s sloppy play before Wednesday’s game, emphasizing fielding fundamentals even as the regulars work overtime on hitting issues.

‘‘We made no errors [Tuesday]? That’s not true,’’ he said of misplays at the plate, on throws from the outfield and at short. ‘‘They scored six runs. At least two of those were gifts. . . . But the effort, I’ve got no issues.’’

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