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Colvin must earn his time

Updated: October 3, 2011 1:06PM

Tyler Colvin won’t get a lengthy, every-day look in right field at the expense of veteran Cub outfielders unless he earns it, manager Mike Quade said in his clearest comments yet on the plans for the struggling sophomore slugger.

“I won’t throw my veterans, who have been battling all year, [on the bench],’’ Quade said. “Especially Reed [Johnson] — what a year he’s had — and say, ‘You’re going to sit down for a week.’ No. .  .  . And these kids will get their at-bats and opportunities, but to me it’s not just, ‘Here it is, go get it and the rest of these guys can watch you play.’ ’’

Because of left-handed starters Wednesday and Friday, and Johnson’s four-hit Wednesday that got him another start on Thursday, the lefty-hitting Colvin will miss three consecutive starts — and four of six — before rejoining the lineup Saturday. When Kosuke Fukudome was traded to the Cubs two weeks ago, general manager Jim Hendry said the main purpose was to create regular playing time over the final two months to evaluate Colvin.

But Colvin (5-for-28 with two homers since then) said no one made him any promises about playing, and it doesn’t affect his preparation.

“I’m used to it. I did it last year,’’ he said. “It’s one of those things where I come to the field every day ready to go, and Quade’s going to put the best lineup out there to win a ballgame.’’

Cash advances

Andrew Cashner, sidelined since suffering a shoulder injury in his first start of the season, is scheduled to throw a simulated game Saturday in Atlanta — his biggest step yet since a setback in May.

“It’s getting better and better every time out,’’ said Cashner, who fared well in a bullpen session Thursday. “There’s no doubt in my mind I’ll see game action [by the end of the season].’’

Cashner, who was converted from reliever to starter this spring, has sounded aggressive about his timeline for weeks, despite the team’s especially cautious approach to his second time through rehab.

The Cubs still project him as a starting candidate next season.

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