San Diego (7-6) at Chicago (5-7)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 2:20 pm EDT Tue Apr 17, 2007
  • TV: WGN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The cornerstone of the Chicago Cubs’ offseason makeover could be sidelined for a while.

The Cubs will be without high-priced center fielder Alfonso Soriano as Greg Maddux makes his first start in Wrigley Field with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday in the finale of a two-game set.

Soriano, who signed a $136 million, eight-year contract in December after one season in Washington, strained his left hamstring Monday night while trying to make a diving catch in Chicago’s 12-4 win.

“Yes, I don’t like to get hurt,” said Soriano, who thinks he’ll miss five days but also could be headed to the disabled list. “I know that I’m not going to be able to play (Tuesday), so it’s sad for me because … I like to play every day.”

Soriano is hitting just .245 with one RBI and stolen base this year. He batted .277 with 46 homers, 95 RBIs and 41 steals with the Nationals in 2006.

Cliff Floyd, who took over in left field after Jacque Jones replaced Soriano in center, homered, scored twice and drove in four for Chicago (5-7), which snapped a seven-game skid against the Padres (7-6).

“I’ve had some injuries in my career, and I know when you sign a contract the last thing you want to do is get hurt,” Floyd said. “Hopefully, it’s not that bad, and we’ll get him back as soon as possible.”

Though he wears No. 30 now instead of No. 31, little else about Maddux (1-1, 3.18 ERA) has changed.

The four-time NL Cy Young Award winner, who played for the Cubs from 1986-92 and again from 2004-06, won his first five starts last year but had slumped to 9-11 with a 4.69 ERA when Chicago traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31 for shortstop Cesar Izturis.

The right-hander went 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA to help the Dodgers into the playoffs. In December, the Padres signed Maddux to a $10 million, one-year deal.

“Last year, I felt as good as I’ve ever felt,” said Maddux, whose 15 combined wins in 2006 would have led the Padres’ staff. “I do like the game, I do like the competition, I do like wearing a major league shirt. … I’m not ready to give it up.”

Maddux, 11-3 with a 2.38 lifetime ERA against the Cubs, picked up his 334th career win Wednesday in San Diego’s 4-0 win over San Francisco. The future Hall of Famer - who turned 41 on Saturday - scattered six hits, struck out six and didn’t walk a batter in six innings.

“Absolutely, it’s fun to watch him,” teammate Jake Peavy said of Maddux, unable to wear his familiar No. 31 which the Padres retired for Dave Winfield. “It’s amazing what he does. It’s great to be on his side.”

Right-hander Wade Miller (0-1, 13.50) looks to improve on a horrendous season debut for the Cubs. Facing Milwaukee on April 8, Miller lasted just four innings and was reached for six runs and nine hits in a 9-4 loss.

“He wasn’t really sharp. He was getting the ball up. Let’s hope he gets better next time out,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella told the team’s official Web site of Miller, who gave up back-to-back homers to Geoff Jenkins and Gabe Gross in a four-run second inning.

Miller averaged 15 wins a season with Houston from 2001-03, but missed almost all of last year recovering from shoulder surgery. He made five starts in September and October, going 0-2 with a 4.57 ERA, but hasn’t won since beating Kansas City on Aug. 3, 2005 while with Boston.

Miller is making his fifth career start against the Padres and first since September 2003. He’s 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA against them and has given up six homers in 23 1-3 innings.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Maddux LAD vs. W. Miller Tor
14-11 Record 0-1
4.14 ERA 10.54
104 K 6
25 BB 6
1.24 WHIP 2.20


Tuesday, Apr 17