Lee to test wrist in Triple-A this weekend
Slugger may return next week, making Nevin decision tougher
MINNEAPOLIS -- First baseman Derrek Lee will test his right wrist Saturday and Sunday for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs and, if all goes well, could be back with the big-league team next week.
Lee, who fractured his wrist April 19, is scheduled to play both days for the Minor League team against Omaha in Des Moines. He will likely be the designated hitter in one of those games and play first base in another, and hopes that's enough so he can be activated Monday.
"It should be fun -- it should be even better when I get back playing," Lee said Friday after taking his second round of batting practice before the Cubs' game against the Minnesota Twins.
Lee will have his wrist taped and wear a brace when he gets on the bases to protect it. He has been doing exercises twice a day to build up strength.
"It's going good, as good as I can expect," he said. "The main thing is getting some swings in and getting the strength back."
Lee was reluctant at first to do a Minor League rehab assignment but has changed his mind.
"It's the smart thing to do," he said. "You can hit [batting practice] all you want, but the game is different. You get sliders, changeups, getting jammed with the bat [in a game]. I don't want to come back and do something where I have to sit out two days. This will be a good test."
When Lee returns, the Cubs will have to figure out what to do with Phil Nevin, who was batting .269 since he was acquired in a deal with the Texas Rangers on May 31.
"I don't know," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said when asked about Nevin's status. "He's a great player, but he's not D-Lee."
Right now, Nevin is starting at first and the backup catcher while Michael Barrett serves his 10-game suspension. He has played outfield in his career, but his last game was in 2003.
"[Nevin] would have to go out there and work," Baker said. "We all know his speed is limited. That ball finds whoever is on that field sooner or later. Everybody knew what was going on when we got him for the interim period of time. Whether anybody accepted it, that's a different story."
Nevin certainly helped his case by belting a solo home run off Johan Santana in the second inning of Friday night's game in Minnesota.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.