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Notes: Running encourages Soriano

Notes: Running encourages Soriano

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SAN FRANCISCO -- If Alfonso Soriano continues to feel as good as he did Tuesday, he says he'll be back in the Cubs lineup this weekend.

Don't get excited, Cubs fans. It's not likely.

"I told him I was going to put him in there today," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Tuesday. "He can play on top of the Coke bottle out there [in left field]. He'll be Chicago's version of Bernie the Brewer."

Soriano, sidelined with a strained right quad, felt inspired after running for the first time in workouts with athletic trainer Mark O'Neal and conditioning coach Tim Buss before Tuesday's game. He hit Friday and Saturday in the batting cage and hoped to hit on the field Wednesday.

"That's the first time," Soriano said about running. "I don't know how I'm going to feel today. That's a very good sign for me. Today was a good day for me -- I was running for the first time in two weeks."

The projected return date for Soriano is Sept. 1.

"For me, I feel comfortable to come back before Sept. 1, but I have to listen to the trainer and the manager," Soriano said.

So, when will he be back?

"I said to the trainer, this weekend," Soriano said. "They laughed. We'll see. If I feel like that, or better, running, maybe I can play but not aggressive. I could play this weekend and get ready for the big series at home."

For Soriano to not be aggressive, it would be similar to when he came back from his sore hamstring earlier this season.

"We're tied in first place, and I want to help the team," Soriano said.

"I think the fact that he's taking batting practice, it's got his blood flowing, but one more setback and the whole season is gone," Piniella said. "I talked to the trainer and we're still clinging to the first of September, Labor Day weekend scenario."

The Cubs want to make sure Soriano returns at full strength and can do everything a leadoff hitter can do. He won't be brought back and inserted lower in the order.

Roster moves: After Monday's game, the Cubs optioned Ronny Cedeno to Triple-A Iowa and also designated catcher Koyie Hill for assignment. On Tuesday, they activated Henry Blanco from the disabled list and reinstated Cliff Floyd from the restricted list.

Blanco had been on the DL since May 31 because of a herniated cervical disk.

"He got more treatment than any player I've ever seen," Piniella said, jokingly. "Hill did a nice job, and you look at his won-loss record, and I think it was 17-9. We had to get Henry back on the list, and Koyie needed to hit just a little more."

There had been talk when he was initially sidelined that Blanco's neck injury could be career threatening.

"I never thought that way," Blanco said. "I was always working, and thank God everything worked out good. I knew at some point it would work out before the season was over.

"I'm just trying to get back on track as quick as I can," Blanco said. "I'm not going to go 5-for-5, but I feel pretty good."

Makeup date: The Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will make up Sunday's postponed game on Sept. 10 at 2:20 p.m. CT.

The makeup date had been an off-day for both teams. The Cubs are on a three-city road trip Sept. 7-16 to Pittsburgh, Houston and St. Louis, and will fly from Pittsburgh to make the one-day stop at Wrigley Field for the makeup game.

"It's tough on St. Louis and it's tough on us," Piniella said of the schedule change.

Extra bases: Ryan Theriot was batting .351 with six doubles, 12 runs, five RBIs and two stolen bases in the leadoff spot. "It's amazing that it took me so long to realize he should be our everyday shortstop," Piniella said of Theriot. "But when Soriano gets back, he'll go back in the leadoff spot and Theriot will go in the two-hole." ... Pitching coach Larry Rothschild was not with the team Tuesday, but back in Chicago to be with his father, who was undergoing surgery. Lester Strode took over the pitching coach duties. ... Carlos Marmol and Michael Wuertz rank 1-2 in the National League in stranding baserunners. ... Former Cubs catcher Michael Barrett is on the disabled list with post-concussion syndrome. "It's scary," Cubs catcher Jason Kendall said. "You can't really worry about it. If you let up, you have more chance of getting hurt."

Minor matters: Clay Rapada picked up his sixth win in Triple-A Iowa's 7-5 victory over Memphis on Monday. Josh Kroeger hit a three-run walk-off homer for the deciding runs. ... Mitch Atkins gave up two runs, none earned, on six hits over seven innings in Double-A Tennessee's 9-3 win over Mobile. Kyle Reynolds had four hits and three RBIs. ... Jesse Estrada gave up two runs on five hits over eight innings in Class A Daytona's 2-1 loss to Jupiter. ... Marco Carrillo gave up four earned runs on seven hits over six innings in Class A Peoria's 8-7 win over Wisconsin. ... Ryan Acosta gave up one hit over three scoreless innings and struck out four for Rookie-level Mesa.

On deck: Rich Hill will start Game 2 of this three-game series against the Giants and lefty Barry Zito. First pitch is scheduled for 9:15 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on WGN.

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

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