CHC@CIN: Ransom's bat, glove shine in Cubs debut

CINCINNATI -- In Cody Ransom's first at-bat with the Yankees on Aug. 17, 2008, he hit a home run. In his first at-bat with the Cubs on Tuesday night, he connected again.

Is this a trend?

"I've had first games with eight teams, so I wouldn't call it a trend," Ransom said.

He is the first Cubs player to homer in his first at-bat with the team since Starlin Castro did so May 7, 2010, in his Major League debut. Maybe it's something at Great American Ball Park, because Castro also homered in Cincinnati.

"I was looking for a strike," Ransom said of his home run in the second inning off Tony Cingrani in a game the Cubs won, 4-2, in 10 innings. "I was looking for a good pitch, and he was getting ahead with his fastball through the first six hitters. Everybody was a little bit late and a little bit under. I was looking for a pitch and trying to get on top of it and get the head up."

Ransom also made some solid plays at third base.

"The word is he's pretty sure-gloved and armed, and can play just about anywhere," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Ransom, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Padres.

Ransom has been with the team for one week before he got into a game.

"That's what batting practice is for," Ransom said. "I feel if you do your work there and take your ground balls and throw and get reads off the bat while guys are hitting, you'll be all right when you're in the game."

Was he getting antsy?

"It had been 13 days since I played yesterday between San Diego and here," he said. "Your body, it's like Spring Training all over again. Your body is kind of sore the next day."

He felt good enough to be in the starting lineup Wednesday.

Garza to be re-evaluated with sore right arm

Outlook: Garza will contribute with sustained health

CINCINNATI -- The Cubs will re-examine pitcher Matt Garza on Wednesday to determine the next step for the right-hander, who was scratched from his scheduled rehab outing because of soreness in his right arm.

Garza had been scheduled to throw 45-50 pitches on Wednesday at Double-A Tennessee. He is coming back from a strained left lat suffered Feb. 17 during a live batting practice session in Mesa, Ariz., which kept him from pitching in Spring Training.

Last Friday, he threw a two-inning simulated game at Miller Park, and followed that with a bullpen session Sunday.

"There was nothing going on after that bullpen that day," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday. "Hopefully, it's just routine normal soreness, dead arm, whatever you want to call it."

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the good news is that Garza's problems have nothing to do with his right elbow, which limited him to 18 games last season.

"It's all muscular, nothing structural," Hoyer said late Tuesday. "We'll give him a couple days, throw a bullpen and get him right back on schedule."

Soriano still able to shift to extra gear on bases

CHC@CIN: Soriano swipes two bases, scores on sac fly

CINCINNATI -- Alfonso Soriano singled and stole two bases in the second inning of Tuesday night's 4-2 win over the Reds in 10 innings, but after swiping third, the Cubs veteran took a brief timeout.

"I was fine," Soriano said Wednesday. "I steal second and third on two pitches, and at age 37, I think I need a little time. Thank God, I'm feeling good. At 37, I needed extra time. I took my extra time to breathe. I can't remember the last time I had two sprints like that."

The last time was August 2008. Soriano stole two bases in one inning twice that month, the last one on Aug. 25 that year against the Pirates. Don't expect him to be putting together another 40-stolen base season, though.

"I feel good in my legs," Soriano said. "If I have a chance to steal the base, I'm going to try to do it to make the game easier for my teammates and try to score some runs. We have a very good team. I want to try to take what they give me. If they give me a stolen base, I'll take a stolen base."

Soriano was not in the lineup for Wednesday's series finale against the Reds, but he didn't ask for the day off.

"I never ask for a day off," Soriano said. "I'm always ready to play."

Extra bases

• Sveum will still rely on the best matchup in determining his closer.

On Tuesday, Kevin Gregg picked up the save, and he is one of the options. So is Carlos Marmol, who lost the job after the first week of the season.

"I didn't say [Marmol] would not be the closer," Sveum said Wednesday. "I said it would come down to matchups."

Gregg's save was his first since 2011.

"Today was an awesome feeling," Gregg said after Tuesday's game. "I really enjoy that. That's a lot of weight on your shoulders when you're out there making pitches in that situation. I love that pressure, I love what comes with it, of what comes from being able to carry home a victory for the team."

• Kyuji Fujikawa, on the disabled list with a strained right forearm, is throwing from 135 feet on flat ground and has yet to throw a bullpen session. He is doing his rehab in Chicago.

• Ian Stewart was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Tuesday in a rehab start for Triple-A Iowa. Stewart is coming back from a strained left quad, suffered Feb. 21 in an intrasquad game. In seven games, he's 2-for-24 with a double and three RBIs.

• The Cubs and Rangers will play May 6 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field to make up a postponed Interleague game from April 17. It was one of two Cubs games postponed on the homestand; the Cubs also have a makeup game July 30 against the Brewers.