Notes: Barrett needs time to heal

Notes: Barrett needs time to heal

CHICAGO -- Michael Barrett won't be back this season, but when he returns in 2007, he'll have better protection.

The Cubs catcher has been sidelined since a foul tip caused an intrascrotal hematoma on Sept. 2. He underwent surgery and had hoped to return this month, but the injury hasn't healed and doctors advised rest.

"It's been difficult sitting and not playing and not doing much of anything, but it's doctor's orders," he said Friday.

Barrett still has some pain and discomfort after the operation.

"It's taken a lot longer than I thought to heal," Barrett said. "I might have been a little out of my mind when I thought I could come back."

Barrett isn't able to run now, but he doesn't expect to have any problems next season.

"As soon as I can be more active, I will be," he said. "This is my offseason. This surgery and everything that's happened is my offseason. Once I start feeling better, it's time to get going again."

When Barrett does come back, he'll be wearing a cup that offers bullet-proof protection. They are on the market.

"Once I get that thing, it's game on," he said.

And the original cup? It's now on display at a youth baseball complex Barrett is involved with in the Atlanta area.

Mr. 200: Juan Pierre notched his 200th hit in the first inning on Friday, and the Cubs center fielder will likely set a record for lowest batting average for a player with 200 hits. Pierre entered Friday's game batting .291. The current low is .295 by Jo-Jo Moore of the 1935 New York Giants.

Also, Pierre could be the first player with 200 hits and 50 stolen bases to score fewer than 100 runs since Sam Rice of the Washington Senators in 1920. The only other player to do so was Ed McKean in 1887 for Cleveland of the American Association. McKean is only considered a member of the 200-hit club because walks were counted as hits in 1887. He had 154 real hits and 60 walks.

All-time, Cub players have recorded 200 hits in a season 20 times. Billy Herman and Billy Williams reached 200 three times while Kiki Cuyler and Woody English did so twice.

Derrek Lee finished one hit shy of 200 last year when he won the National League batting title. Ryne Sandberg was the last Cub to join the 200 club, doing so in 1984.

On deck: The Cubs will play Game 2 of their final three-game series of the season on Saturday, sending rookie Juan Mateo (1-3, 4.09 ERA) to the mound against Jeff Francis (13-11, 4.02 ERA) at 3:05 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on WGN Radio and WGN TV.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.