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DL has become a regular rite for Cubs

Jeff Baker who started first base homers off Brewers starter Chris Narvesfirst inning Wednesday night Wrigley Field.  |

Jeff Baker, who started at first base, homers off Brewers starter Chris Narveson in first inning Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. | Charles Rex Arbogast~AP

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Updated: October 16, 2011 12:17AM

And then there was Starlin.

When Cubs rookie second baseman Darwin Barney was forced to the disabled list Wednesday because of a knee injury, it left only shortstop Starlin Castro among the Opening Day regulars who has not missed time this season because of injury.

That doesn’t count the three starting pitchers from the opening rotation who already have spent time on the DL.

And even Castro got smacked in the mouth by a throw the second week of the season in Milwaukee.

‘‘I’m so tired of walking through [the trainer’s room] and seeing guys getting treatment,’’ manager Mike Quade said — and that was a few hours before Barney got his MRI exam during Tuesday night’s game.

Barney, who was injured on his head-first slide to score the winning run Monday night against the Brewers, has a Grade 1 tear in his left posterior cruciate ligament. But he and the Cubs say they think he’ll be ready to play on his first eligible day, June 29.

‘‘I don’t think anybody thought it was going to be as bad as it was until we got back from the hospital [Tuesday night],’’ Barney said. ‘‘Even then, I was just like, ‘Let’s hurry back so I can get in there in the eighth or ninth if they need someone to hit.’ ’’

Barney, the early leader in the National League Rookie of the Year race, finished Monday’s game defensively in the ninth despite numbness but woke up Tuesday morning with pain.

Quade said he’ll rotate rookie DJ Lemahieu and veterans Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt at second until Barney returns.

Barney is the fourth starter from the opening lineup to go on the DL, a group that includes catcher Geovany Soto (groin), left fielder Alfonso Soriano (quadriceps) and center fielder Marlon Byrd (facial fractures). Three more players missed time for more minor injuries: first baseman Carlos Pena (thumb), third baseman Aramis Ramirez (stitches in lip from a hit ball) and right fielder Kosuke Fukudome (hamstring).

Soriano was activated from the DL on Wednesday, leaving only Byrd still sidelined among that group. Soriano was held out because of sloppy playing conditions but is expected to be in today’s lineup.

Shirt tale

About 20 months ago, Tom Ricketts declared during his first media conference as Cubs chairman: ‘‘There is no curse. If anybody on our team thinks he’s cursed, we’ll move him to a lesser-cursed team.’’

On Wednesday, he took note of the ‘‘F*** the Goat’’ T-shirts players wore proudly on the field during an early workout Tuesday.

‘‘I think we’re not going to wear them outside,’’ Ricketts said. ‘‘Kind of the language in it, you’ve got to be careful. But I’m not too worked up about it.’’

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