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Reed Johnson says there’s still time for Cubs to rally

Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster throws first with pick- off attempt Corey Hart second inning Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers MLB

Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster throws to first with a pick- off attempt of Corey Hart in the second inning of the Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers MLB game Monday June 13, 2011 at Wrigley Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 3, 2011 8:37PM

Count veteran outfielder Reed Johnson among the Cubs who remain optimistic about salvaging this season.

‘‘Everyone in here knows we should be playing better,’’ Johnson, who hopes to return from the disabled list today or Wednesday, said Monday. ‘‘We have a bunch of games left. Guys like [injured outfielder] Marlon [Byrd] keep saying we have to stay positive. If there’s a team that could do it, I truly feel it would be us.’’

Johnson’s return from back spasms was delayed after he was hit in the helmet
by a pitch during his rehab
assignment at Class AAA
Iowa. He must pass concussion tests and be cleared by doctors before he can play.

‘‘I’m fortunate, all things considered,’’ said Johnson, who has bruising around his left eye. ‘‘My vision is fine out of both eyes. I don’t have any issues.’’

In other injury news, the Cubs put reliever Kerry Wood on the DL because of a lingering blister on his right index finger. Utility man Jeff Baker, who had been on the DL with a strained groin muscle, was activated to take his place on the roster and started in right field against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Manager Mike Quade said Jeff Samardzija likely will be called upon to fill Wood’s setup role.

Facing hard times

Asked whether he understands fans’ frustrations with the Cubs, Quade said the team needs even more support when it is struggling.

‘‘We all like to win, not the least of which is me,’’ he said. ‘‘If we get wrapped up in all the things going on here, we’ll be in trouble. We’re trying to give them everything we can. There are times when we need them, too, and this is one of them. It won’t be easier if we’re poorly received, but we still have to do our job and understand the situation. These are good fans and good people.’’

Facing 3,000

Wood won’t have to deal with the possibility of facing former New York Yankees teammate Derek Jeter this weekend. Jeter is six hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

Wood faced former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds when he was pursuing his 700th home run, and reliever Sean Marshall said he remembers giving up No. 730 to Bonds in 2006.

‘‘I’m in Bonds’ book, but that’s a long one,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘And I faced [former Cubs star] Sammy Sosa when he was going for 600 [with the Texas Rangers]. Jason Marquis gave it up the next day.

‘‘But 3,000 hits is such a special moment. If I was to give it up, I hope it would be a single with nobody on.’’

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