Montero's back feels good in batting practice

Catcher 'not going to rush it,' eligible to come off DL on Tuesday

Montero's back feels good in batting practice

CHICAGO -- Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said his back felt good Friday after a batting-practice session in the cage the day before, but he wasn't sure when he'd be able to return.

Montero, sidelined since April 25 with lower back stiffness, is eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday.

"It feels better," Montero said. "It's coming along good. Obviously, I'm not going to rush it, and I'm going to take my time with it and see."

Will Montero need to go on a rehab assignment?

"I don't know," he said. "I only lost eight games, so it's not really that much. It's not up to me. If they ask me, I don't think I really need a rehab. Like I say, it's not my decision."

As anyone who has had back problems knows, Montero will have to continue to monitor it.

"I felt really good in the cage," he said. "Obviously, I'm still thinking about it a little bit. For the most part, I don't feel anything and feel pretty good. You don't want to go out there and hurt it again, so you try to take your time."

Worth noting

Jason Heyward returned to the Cubs' lineup Friday after not starting four straight games because of a sprained right wrist. However, manager Joe Maddon said he'll continue to keep an eye on the outfielder.

"I want to see what he feels like after today," Maddon said. "If he needed [Saturday] to rest after a lot of swinging, I have no issue with that. He's really close to being back out there every day."

Heyward did enter Thursday's game in the fourth inning when Dexter Fowler was ejected for arguing a called third strike.

Fowler gets tossed from the game

• Last year, Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks warmed up to Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze." Hendricks' nickname in college was "Jimi." This year, Hendricks warms up with Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion." Why did he switch? His cousin Jordan Sinclaire provided a playlist of music to choose from and picked some classic rock.

"I don't mind classic rock," Hendricks said. "I don't really like it."

He's a fan of country music and reggae, and he knows it's an odd combination. He may return to his college namesake's music.

"If we didn't have walk-up songs, I wouldn't care," he said.

• The Cubs named Double-A Tennessee infielder Chesny Young and right-handed pitcher Paul Blackburn the Minor League Player of the Month and Pitcher of the Month for April.

Young, 23, batted .402 with two doubles, one triple, two homers, 13 runs scored and nine RBIs in 22 games for Tennessee in April. He led the Southern League in batting average and on-base percentage, ranked second in stolen bases (11) and tied for third in total bases (43).

Blackburn, 22, went 3-0 with a 0.29 ERA, giving up one earned run over 31 innings in five April starts. The right-hander struck out 15 and walked five, while limiting opponents to a .210 average.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.