Things could be changing on the right side of the Cubs' bullpen.
Rookie Jeff Samardzija, who has played a prominent role of late, went to the pen Tuesday afternoon and practiced his delivery without a baseball.
Bob Howry appears to have caught the eye of manager Lou Piniella once again after getting 10 days between appearances and looking to have more zip on his fastball during a 1-2-3 ninth inning Monday at Milwaukee.
However, Howry was booed by the Wrigley Field crowd Tuesday night after giving up a flyout and a walk in his one-third of an inning.
"We're trying to find some answers for that middle," Piniella said. "We've got some candidates. Howry's got, by far, the most experience. We gave his arm a nice rest, and he responded well. Let's hope that continues.
"The younger kids, you don't know. You just don't know. They've got good arms, but you just don't know exactly what you're getting because of the inexperience factor."
Samardzija has had a bit of a shaky September. Entering Tuesday, he had pitched 4 innings, giving up 5 hits and 4 walks for a WHIP (walks plus hits per 1 inning pitched) of 2.25. His WHIP for the season entering Tuesday was a tidy 1.24.
"I like to go out there and do some work sometimes," he said. "After walking a couple guys the last time out, you like to get back on the horse and get back on the bump as soon as possible.
"It's a thing I've had my whole career, just get back out there, work on a few things and get back in rhythm. It's getting ahead in counts. I think I did last time. I just didn't put them away."
Santo on ballot: Former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo again is on the Veterans Committee ballot for the Hall of Fame. Former White Sox first baseman Dick Allen is among the 10 finalists, who also include Joe Torre and Gil Hodges. Results will be announced at the winter meetings in December.
Business doings: Cubs brass said there is no truth to an Internet report that a group headed by Thomas Ricketts is the winning bidder to buy the Cubs. Club chairman Crane Kenney said the process hasn't gotten that far.
Also, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was asked by a wire-service columnist about the recent series against the Astros in Milwaukee.
Hendry said at no time did the Cubs push to have the games held in Milwaukee. He said the Cubs were willing to stay in St. Louis and start the series there in the wake of Hurricane Ike.
The Cubs swept the Astros in two games as the Astros complained of the Cubs having a "homefield advantage" in Milwaukee.