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Cubs’ Marlon Byrd begins rehab, but length unknown

Updated: October 1, 2011 12:37AM

The countdown to a healthy complement of Cubs is shrinking, with outfielder Marlon Byrd beginning his rehab assignment Monday night at Class AAA Iowa. Second baseman Darwin Barney (sprained left knee) already has been there playing and performing well.

Byrd played center field in his first game since being struck in the face by a pitch May 21 in Boston. He went 0-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk and a hit-by-pitch before leaving the game.

“If he needs a longer stint because of how long he’s been away, I don’t know,’’ manager Mike Quade said Monday. “If he has three or four [good] games and says he’s ready to go, who knows?’’

Because Byrd suffered facial fractures, he might require more evaluation before he is cleared to return. He will wear additional protection on his helmet while hitting.

Barney homered Sunday in his second rehab game at Iowa and might return by the end of the week. Kerry Wood (finger blister) is the last player on the 15-day disabled list.

Equal time

Shortstop Starlin Castro has been on the receiving end of many talks from Quade after a misplay, sometimes in view of television cameras.

Some fans have questioned why Quade hasn’t done the same if a veteran is believed to be lagging in effort. But Quade said he has.

“There shouldn’t be different standards,’’ he said. “Every time a player doesn’t give me every effort, it’s addressed. We deal with it.”

Quade said he talks to players directly when necessary. In Castro’s case, a misplay in the 6-3 loss Sunday to the Kansas City Royals brought an earful after the play to make an immediate teaching point.

Last season, Quade benched Castro for several games in September after a stretch of poor play. But this season has brought different situations, Quade said.

“I thought last year I saw more mental lapses and thought it was time for a mental break,’’ he said, adding that isn’t the case now.

Quade said veteran players are handled differently but aren’t given passes.

“Veteran status does matter some, but not in something being addressed,’’ he said.


Nick Jonas, the youngest of the Jonas Brothers recording group, took batting practice Monday with the Cubs. Asked if he knew who the teen idol was, Quade replied, “I don’t know the Jonas Brothers from the Smith Brothers [cough-drop makers].’’

◆ The Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese League have purchased the contract of Cubs minor-league infielder Bobby Scales. Former Cubs first baseman Micah Hoffpauir plays for the same team.

Carlos Pena’s multihomer game was the 20th of his career. Aramis Ramirez had his 24th career multihomer game.

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