CHICAGO — On the ride from Midway Airport to my hotel last night, the van went past Soldier Field, where the Bears were playing. The driver began boasting about the Bears, sparking football talk among the other riders. One guy was from Buffalo. He didn’t have much to say. Another was a Jets fan. He talked a lot. Finally, Jets guy turned to me and asked, “Where’re you from?” My answer silenced everyone for a while, which was nice.
»»» First baseman Derrek Lee (fractured wrist) will take batting practice on the field this afternoon. This morning, Lee said he believes there’s a good chance he’ll be activated before this series against the Cubs is over. When he returns, he will get the bulk of the playing time at first base.
»»» Right fielder Jose Tabata is not in the lineup today so he can rest his sore wrist.
»»» Right-hander Jeff Karstens (shoulder fatigue) likely will miss at least one more start. And speaking of injured pitchers, management is nearing decisions on whether Paul Maholm (shoulder strain) or Kevin Correia (oblique strain) will be able to pitch again this season.
»»» Left fielder Ryan Ludwick (back) will come off the DL on Wednesday.
Lineups for today’s game:
Pirates (62-75) – 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Josh Harrison 3b, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Andrew McCutchen cf, 5. Garrett Jones 1b, 6. Xavier Paul rf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. Brian Burres lhp (2011 debut)
Cubs (59-78) – 1. Starlin Castro ss, 2. Johnson rf, 3. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 4. Carlos Pena 1b, 5. Alfonso Soriano lf, 6. Marlon Byrd cf, 7. Geovany Soto c, 8. Darwin Barney 2b, 9. Ryan Demptster rhp (10-10, 4.76)