Notes: Bowen debuts for Cubs
Backstop acquired for Barrett catches for Lilly on Thursday
ARLINGTON -- The Cubs didn't waste any time getting new catcher Rob Bowen in the lineup.
Bowen started Thursday behind the plate in the Interleague series finale against the Texas Rangers. He's wearing No. 4. He would've preferred No. 14.
"I can't wear that here," he said of No. 14, which the Cubs retired in honor of Ernie Banks.
Bowen, who was batting .268 for the Padres before they dealt him to the Cubs for Michael Barrett, was surprised by the trade.
"I didn't really know what was going on," Bowen said. "I got called in the office late the other night, and was told there was something in the works and told to be ready."
He was a backup with the Padres and will get most of the playing time with the Cubs.
"I've always been a kind of role guy, backup guy," Bowen said. "I think this will be a good advance for my career to step up as a starter."
He doesn't know the Cubs staff well, but got a crash course before Thursday's game. First-base coach Matt Sinatro went over the signs, and Koyie Hill gave him some info.
"Their attitude about going for strike one is very important," Bowen said of the Cubs' pitching staff.
Bowen grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., and was a Cubs fan. That's because he was a fan of Damon Berryhill, and when Berryhill went to Atlanta, Bowen followed him and became a Braves fan. Plus, he could cheer on Greg Maddux.
Bowen does realize it will take some time for him to fit in, especially considering how popular Barrett was on the team.
"Everybody liked him here -- you can tell," Bowen said.
Clear vision: Mark DeRosa was in the Cubs' lineup, too, on Thursday, and his vision was fine. DeRosa had to leave Wednesday's game after one inning because of a vega-vasal episode, which caused the vision in his left eye to become blurry.
If you've ever bent down, and then lifted your head up quickly and become dizzy and lost sight briefly, that's what happened.
"I feel better," DeRosa said Thursday. "I still have a faint headache and stuff, but my vision is fine. I've had bad headaches. I've gotten concussions in football and stuff like that. I know what it's like to want to go in a dark room and close your eyes. I've never had problems with my vision.
"[Wednesday], I went out on the field and that whole bottom of the first, everything was blurry and then the headache came," he said.
He didn't lose his vision completely, but he wasn't able to see the ball clearly that Sammy Sosa hit at him. DeRosa couldn't snare the ball, and was charged with an error.
"It scared me enough to take myself out of the game," DeRosa said of the temporary vision loss. "A lot of people I've talked to have had it. Four or five of my buddies have called, a couple guys on [the Rangers] have called."
And all he can do is take some Advil.
"I thought I had something in my eye," DeRosa said.
Roster moves: The Cubs decided to trim a pitcher from the roster, and optioned right-hander Sean Gallagher to Triple-A Iowa after Thursday's game to make room for third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez can be activated from the disabled list on Friday.
Piniella said they talked about carrying 11 pitchers, which would be doable while the Cubs play one more series at an American League park. The Cubs finish Interleague Play this weekend against the Chicago White Sox.
"One thing is, it'll be nice getting Ramirez's bat back in the lineup," Piniella said.
Ramirez was hitting .299 before he injured his left knee running the bases. The Cubs offense has been inconsistent, but they are batting .271 this month, their best month of the season.
"We need to get our offense going consistently, and at the same time, get a nice streak where we get good pitching," Piniella said. "It seems that we've been scoring a few runs, [but] our pitching hasn't been quite as good. Then, when our pitching gets good, we don't score runs. Let's see if we can get on a nice streak."
600 club: Sammy Sosa became the fifth member of the 600 home run club with his blast Wednesday against the Cubs. Sosa is 38, and will benefit from being in the American League and able to be the designated hitter. How much longer can he go?
"Your body tells you," Piniella said. "It's like a 70-year-old guy pulling his golf clubs behind him on an uphill course. You feel it after the round. It's not easy."
Did you know the Cubs are the second consecutive club to surrender a 600th career homer to a former player? Barry Bonds notched his 600th against the Pirates on Aug. 9, 2002.
Numbers game: After Wednesday, the Cubs had played 70 games -- 35 at home and 35 on the road. Here's a comparison: They are 15-20 at home, and 17-18 on the road. They're batting .266 at home, .267 on the road. They've hit 33 homers at home, 32 on the road. Their on-base percentage is nearly the same -- .327 home, .328 road. Opponent batting average is identical. The team ERA is 3.73 at Wrigley compared to 4.11 on the road.
Extra bases: Piniella shuffled the lineup, moving Felix Pie into the eighth spot and bumping Mike Fontenot to No. 2. Derrek Lee also was the designated hitter, while Daryle Ward played first. ... The White Sox may be scuffling, but Piniella didn't think they'd be "down" this weekend. "The White Sox won't be down," he said. "I don't think the fans will let either team be down." ... Scott Eyre looked sharp in 1 1/3 innings Wednesday. He retired all four batters he faced. "I told him when I took him out, 'You're on your way now,'" Piniella said. ... Jason Marquis hasn't won since May 9, and is 0-3 in his eight starts since. "We need to get him pitching like he was early in the season," Piniella said. "This kid has more ability -- I think he's hard on himself which he shouldn't be. Last night, he was pitching behind in the count, but he was still getting ground balls, which would lead me to believe, 'Hey, I might as well get that on the first two pitches.' All he needs to do is relax and go out and pitch and he'll be fine."
Minor matters: John Webb threw eight shutout innings in Triple-A Iowa's 3-0 win over Nashville on Wednesday. Micah Hoffpauir hit his team-leading 13th home run. ... Kevin Hart gave up two runs, both unearned, on five hits over six innings in Double-A Tennessee's 4-2 win over Huntsville. ... Class A Daytona lost both games of a doubleheader against Palm Beach. Mitch Atkins gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings in the first game, a 2-1 loss. Darin Downs gave up three runs on four hits over two innings in the second game, a 6-1 loss. ... Marc Sawyer hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning in Class A Boise's 8-2 loss to Salem-Keizer. ... Catcher Geovany Soto was added to the World team roster for the All-Star Futures Game.
On deck: Carlos Zambrano will open the Cubs' Interleague series on Friday against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on WGN.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.