LaHair hopes to start by Sunday

CHICAGO -- Despite missing Opening Day with a bad back, Bryan LaHair isn’t expecting to land on the disabled list.

The big slugging first baseman has been out of action since Saturday with back issues, but the injury still isn’t being deemed serious, and he remains day-to-day.

“We're not going to do anything to set me back or anything like that,” LaHair said. “We're just taking everything in stride. Today was a really good day. I've been making huge gains each day, a lot faster than they anticipated so that's a real positive thing.”

The Cubs can now take advantage of Friday’s off day. The expectation is that LaHair makes his first start Sunday when the season-opening series against the Washington Nationals concludes, with a pinch-hit chance possible Saturday.

“Today was exceptional because I did some running, I hit in the cage,” LaHair said. “My swing felt good in the cage. Now, we have a day off tomorrow. I'll get treatment today.”

The injury has more to do with the nerves in his back instead of the muscles, but manager Dale Sveum also mentioned a bulging disc.

“It has something to do with it,” LaHair said. “I bet 90 percent of hitters in baseball have it. I've probably had it since I was a kid. It's just something that all hitters have. But when you get the pain down your leg because of the nerve with the inflammation, you have to get the inflammation down and the nerve settles down and that's basically what's happening right now. “

If no progress is made by the end of the weekend then the Cubs probably would consider a disabled list stint. Minor league first baseman Anthony Rizzo still isn’t expected to be recalled in that scenario. Somebody such as Tony Campana would probably be recalled if LaHair lands on the disabled list.