Ward could return from DL next week

Cubs' Ward could return next week

CHICAGO -- Daryle Ward, who has been rehabbing in Mesa, Ariz., because of a bad back, will join Triple-A Iowa on Saturday and play a few games in hopes of being activated for the Cubs' final Interleague series against the White Sox.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Ward could be activated as early as Tuesday or Wednesday if all goes well. They'd like to use the left-handed-hitting Ward in the designated hitter spot when they play at U.S. Cellular Field next weekend.

Ward had appeared in 30 games before he was sidelined because of problems with his back and hip May 14. He was hitting .200.

Reed Johnson remains day-to-day because of back spasms. He had received a shot Thursday to alleviate the pain, and needed 72 hours to recover from that. He was available to pinch-hit Saturday.

Jim Edmonds, who had been hobbled by soreness in his left foot after the Cubs played on artificial turf in Toronto and Tampa Bay, was back in the starting lineup on Saturday.

Kevin Hart, who suffered a mild concussion after he was hit on the head by a line drive during his last start for Iowa, was recovering well, and expected to only miss one start, Hendry said.

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