Fowler, Soler to start Minors rehab assignments

Center fielder, Nathan could join team by weekend

Fowler, Soler to start Minors rehab assignments

CHICAGO -- Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler were scheduled to begin Minor League rehab assignments on Tuesday at Triple-A Iowa, and if all goes well, Fowler could rejoin the Cubs by the end of the week for a series against the Brewers.

Fowler has been on the disabled list since June 19 with a right hamstring strain, while Soler has been sidelined since June 7 with a left hamstring strain. The Cubs have been cautious with Soler, who has had leg problems in the past.

"We know [Soler] will take longer than Dexter," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Let's let him go play and listen to him at the latter part of this week and see what he's feeling and what the staff sees of him in Iowa."

The Cubs have missed Fowler at the top of the lineup, posting a 9-16 record since June 19 and averaging 4.6 runs per game. They were averaging 5.4 runs per game from the start of the season until June 18.

Worth noting
• The Cubs may get another piece for the bullpen by the end of the week. Joe Nathan, 41, who has been rehabbing at Triple-A Iowa from Tommy John surgery, was scheduled to pitch Wednesday and could be added to the Cubs' roster for the weekend series in Milwaukee. Nathan signed with the Cubs in May, and in 10 Minor League games so far, he's given up two earned runs on three hits and two walks over nine innings.

"I know he's getting closer, and I also know from his perspective, he's willing to do anything for us," Maddon said on Monday.

Nathan would not be used to close games for the Cubs, Maddon said.

"You would definitely feel good about his experience," Maddon said. "He's a veteran. He knows what he's doing out there."

If Nathan is ready, it would help the Cubs' front office as far as what they're looking for heading into the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"If the answer is in-house, it makes it a lot easier," Maddon said. "It's important to get a look."

Nathan pitched for the second straight day on Sunday and struck out one over a scoreless inning.

Lefty Brian Matusz, 29, who signed with the Cubs on June 14, gave up two runs over five innings while striking out five on Sunday for Triple-A Iowa.

Javier Baez has done a little of everything so far this season, making at least one start at each infield position. He's one of six National League players to do that, joining the Phillies' Andres Blanco, the Reds' Ivan DeJesus Jr., the Mets' Wilmer Flores, the Cardinals' Jedd Gyorko and the Pirates' Sean Rodriguez.

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.