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Broken foot puts Johnson out a month
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/29/2009 7:59 PM

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The Cubs just can't stay ahead of the injury train.

Just when they get one player back, another goes down.

On Wednesday, it was center fielder Reed Johnson. In the first inning of the 12-0 victory over the Astros, Johnson fouled a ball off his left foot. He then singled and stayed in the game until the fourth.

The Cubs originally announced Johnson had a bruise, but X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture, an injury the Cubs estimate will keep Johnson out one month.

Johnson will go on the disabled list today, and it's likely the Cubs will call up Sam Fuld from Class AAA Iowa.

The 32-year-old Johnson is batting .252 with an on-base percentage of .327.

He's the right-handed hitting platoon partner of Kosuke Fukudome in center field. Johnson was hitting .300 with a .382 OBP against left-handed pitchers. Fuld bats left-handed, but the Cubs like his speed, especially in games coming up in big ballparks at Florida and Colorado.

Atkins debuts: The Cubs optioned relief pitcher Jeff Stevens to Class AAA Iowa before the game and called up righty Mitch Atkins.

With the bullpen being taxed this week, the Cubs needed a fresh arm. Atkins, the organization's rookie pitcher of the year last season, struggled at Iowa, going 6-10 with a 6.92 ERA.

He worked Wednesday's ninth inning. Carlos Lee reached on an error by third baseman Jeff Baker, but Atkins got Geoff Blum to pop out and Hunter Pence to hit into a double play.

"It is nice," Atkins said. "Pitching like that helps a little bit, going out there with not as much pressure on you."

Stevens impressed the Cubs, giving up 2 hits and 2 runs in 61/3 innings.

Day of rest: Third baseman Aramis Ramirez will get a rest in today's series finale, according to manager Lou Piniella. Jake Fox, who came into Wednesday's game and got 2 RBI, is the likely starter at third base.

"Let's keep him healthy," Piniella said of Ramirez, who has started to hit well lately after missing two months with a dislocated left shoulder.

Catcher Koyie Hill started his 19th consecutive game behind home late, and he looks to make it 20 in a row today. No. 1 catcher Geovany Soto (oblique strain) likely will come off the disabled list sometime next week after a minor-league rehab stint of 2-3 games.

The no-quote: PItcher Randy Wells wants nothing to do with Rookie of the Year talk.

"I don't want to talk about it," said Wells. "I'm not going to answer this question. It's too early."