Lee headed back to DL, but will play again in ’06

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK – The Chicago Cubs placed first baseman Derrek Lee on the 15-day disabled list Monday with inflammation in his right wrist, and said there are no plans to shelve the NL batting champion for the rest of the season.

Lee, a two-time Gold Glove winner, broke two bones in his right wrist in a collision with Rafael Furcal of the Dodgers on April 19. He was activated from the DL on June 25 but has experienced some pain and weakness in the wrist since his return.

Lee went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in a 7-1 loss to the Nationals on Sunday, and trainer Mark O’Neal said the move was discussed after the game. The 30-year-old was batting .227 with a home run and four RBIs in 20 games since he was activated from the DL.

“It’s just a situation where it isn’t getting better,” Lee said. “I was kind of just playing for the sake of playing. I wasn’t helping anybody. So if you’re not helping the team, you’re not helping yourself.”

Lee missed 59 games earlier in the season after the collision with Furcal and was out of the starting lineup for three straight before Sunday’s loss. The Cubs recalled infielder Ryan Theriot from Triple-A Iowa to fill Lee’s roster spot.

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    “I don’t think I was ever really able to take a full good swing so the best thing to do is sit down and let it heal the way it’s supposed to and look at it a couple weeks from now,” Lee said.

    O’Neal said Lee will rest for a week and then see if the wrist responds better to game-type situations.

    “He has not regressed,” O’Neal said. “He hasn’t gone backwards but it’s pretty obvious that he’s not swinging the bat the way that Derrek’s capable of swinging.”

    Lee was a Triple Crown contender for much of last season and finished with a .335 average, 46 homers and 107 RBIs. The Cubs started the season 9-5 with Lee in the lineup, but went 19-40 in his absence.

    “It’s not any worse, that’s the good news,” manager Dusty Baker said. “But it’s not any better and sometimes after an injury you kind of hit a plateau as far as his progress, and that’s what we’ve hit at this time.”

    O’Neal said the team will discuss whether Lee needs a rehabilitation stint in the minors after he rests the wrist.

    It’s another setback for Chicago, which placed starter Sean Marshall on the 15-day DL on Sunday and just got right-hander Mark Prior back from the injured list on Friday. Kerry Wood also has been on the DL since June 9.