Maddon being cautious with Heyward

Maddon being cautious with Heyward

NEW YORK -- Outfielder Jason Heyward did not start in Thursday's 4-3 loss for the second straight game because of some soreness on his left side, which he felt during a throw in the Cubs' last game in Miami on Sunday. Heyward grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning against the Mets and stayed in the game to play right field. He is expected to start on Friday.

"I could play with it fine," Heyward said prior to the game. "[Manager Joe Maddon] wanted to give it an extra day. He wants us, as a team, to go into the All-Star break fresh as possible and not take anything aggravating into the break."

Maddon sent Heyward a text on Thursday morning to tell him he'd be sitting.

"I'm OK," Heyward said. "We have the luxury of doing this at this point in the season, given the standings, and right now we have a good bench and guys who can come off and help."

• Infielder Tommy La Stella, rehabbing from a strained right hamstring, will play on Friday with Triple-A Iowa, then the Cubs will re-evaluate his status, said Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations.

The Cubs did not have an update regarding Dexter Fowler (strained right hamstring) or Jorge Soler (strained left hamstring). Soler did some exercises on the field prior to Thursday's game.

Adam Warren made his second start for Triple-A Iowa on Thursday, and gave up two runs on three hits over five innings while striking out three. He's now in line to start either Tuesday or Wednesday for the Cubs against the Reds. The Cubs want to use a six-man rotation to give the other five starters a breather.

The Cubs had rainouts and days off earlier in the season that permitted the starters to get an extra day, but they are in the middle of a 24-game stretch with no break.

• There was plenty of hype surrounding the Cubs' series against the Mets, their first meeting since the National League Championship Series last October, which New York swept.

"People say this is a marquee series, and that may be for TV or whatever," Heyward said. "This is still going to be a good series."

Heyward didn't watch the NLCS. He was on the Cardinals, whom the Cubs eliminated in the NL Division Series.

"I wasn't playing -- and I lost to the team that was in it," he said.

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.