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Quade hopes to rest hobbled Fukudome

Cubs manager Mike Quade said he’d like to be able not to play injured outfielder Kosuke Fukudome until this weekend’s series with the Colorado Rockies.

”I know they did some lunges today,” Quade said. “I spoke to [Fukudome] and [trainer Mark O’Neal] they both feel better about him today. I’m still going to be very careful. I’d love to see by Friday if he’s ready to play.”

Fukudome injured his left hamstring on Sunday in Milwaukee while making a catch in right field. He took some light drills in batting practice on Tuesday, including six 28-swing rotations.

“It doesn’t mean I won’t use him off the bench as a hitter,” Quade said. “But I’ll try to stay away from using him in the field. That’s too much danger.”

Top of the order in question

and Darwin Barney intrigues Quade enough that he may start Jeff Baker at first base against lefty Wandy Rodriguez on Wednesday.

The Castro-Barney one-two punch combined for five hits, five runs and two walks on Monday night. Quade, for his part, won’t commit to playing them in this manner beyond tonight’s game.

“It’s just a brief snapshot,” Quade said. “There’s a lot of baseball to play. But both of them are off to real good starts. They play with enthusiasm. Both are getting smarter every day. I think they fit real well together.”

Quade will have to decide if Baker will lead off on Wednesday. He has been hitting first in the Cubs’ order against left-handers to begin this season. He also filled that role for Quade in 2010. Baker hit .350 against lefties last season.

Every player that has led off for the Cubs so far this season has exceeded expectations. The Cubs boast a .475 average and .553 on-base percentage from their lead-off hitters this season. Chicago leads the major leagues in both categories.