Darwin Barney close to returning

CHICAGO -- Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney will have stitches removed from his left knee on Friday before starting a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa over the weekend and is expected to return from the disabled list for Tuesday's game against the Texas Rangers.

Barney will play in games in Iowa from Saturday through Monday. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but the Cubs are off that day. They begin a three-game series against the Rangers on Tuesday.

"I'm ready to get going," Barney said. "Definitely ready to go. Get some at-bats under my belt and come back and try to make an impact."

Barney was injured chasing down a foul ball in the final game of spring training on March 30 in Houston. He was put on the disabled list the next day. The five stitches prevented him from bending his knee and forced him to miss the beginning of the regular season.

"Coming down on my knee is fine at this point," Barney said. "I don't think it'll be an issue."

Brent Lillibridge and Alberto Gonzalez have started at second base in place of Barney, who won a Gold Glove last season.