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HOUSTON -- After losing two pitchers in their starting rotation to injuries, the Chicago Cubs signed veteran left-hander Doug Davis to a minor league contract.
Davis was 1-4 with a 7.51 ERA in eight games with the Milwaukee Brewers last season. He is coming off elbow surgery and was also diagnosed with a mild case of pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart, on May 15. He only made one appearance after May 10. Davis also missed part of the 2008 season while he was being treated for thyroid cancer.
"Obviously, he's a tough guy," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "He went through some issues that he'd gotten through. He used to pitch very well against us when he was in Milwaukee. And even the '07 playoffs. He gives us some insurance. We did the same thing with Ramon Ortiz. We signed him about 10 days ago, and he was extended out before he threw well yesterday for the Iowa Cubs."
The Cubs placed Andrew Cashner (mild strain in the back of his rotator cuff) and Randy Wells (right forearm strain) on the disabled list on Friday. Casey Coleman was recalled from Triple-A Iowa and started on Sunday, giving up four earned runs in five innings in a 6-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Left-hander James Russell, who began the season in the bullpen, will start Tuesday against the Houston Astros.
Davis, who has been working out in Arizona, has a 91-101 career record and 4.38 ERA in 12 seasons with the Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks. He won a career-high 13 games with Arizona in 2007.
"He had his physical setup back last year," Hendry said. "He's been throwing in [Mesa]. He had three workouts in Arizona and he's up to 70 pitches. I talked to our pitching people, and they think a couple of weeks in extended [spring training]. Hopefully, we can get him to Iowa by the end of the month."The Cubs also signed veteran right-hander Ramon Ortiz to a minor league deal this week.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.