Extra bases

• Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney has been cleared to do all baseball activities, but won't get the stitches removed from his left knee until later this week.

Barney, on the disabled list with a knee laceration sustained March 30 in the last exhibition game, was able to participate in all drills during batting practice. If all goes well, Barney will begin a rehab assignment this weekend with one of the Minor League teams and then could be activated April 16.

"I'm cleared for everything," Barney said Monday.

• Matt Garza, who threw 35 pitches in his second bullpen on Sunday in Atlanta, will throw a couple more bullpen sessions and then is expected to begin a Minor League rehab assignment. Garza has been sidelined since Feb. 17 with a strained left lat. He's hoping to return in May.

• Last season, Cubs fans had to deal with a 101-loss season. Most understood the growing pains of the team's rebuilding process. Does manager Dale Sveum expect fans to be patient this year?

"You can only have so much patience," Sveum said. "Obviously, they were great to us in hard times last year and understanding the process in the organization. There's only so much you can take, especially when you have some of the best fans in the country and passionate. It's not just Chicago -- we have a following throughout the whole country. The patience has to give way sometimes -- that's just the nature of the beast."

There's no truth to the rumor that Theo Epstein's hair turned gray since he took over as Cubs president of baseball operations.

"Ten years in Boston will do that to you," Epstein said of the flecks of gray. "Lots of blown saves. I remember my first road trip with the Red Sox, we opened on the road in '03, we blew a save Opening Day, blew another one in Toronto, blew another one in Baltimore. They might have sprouted back then. It's not a new development."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.