The Cubs lineup could see a boost this weekend with Miguel Montero's return to Chicago.
The veteran catcher has been on the disabled list the last couple weeks with a back issue and has been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa this week.
"[He'll be back] real soon," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before Friday's game. "He's doing real well. He and I were texting [Thursday] night. Any day now."
Montero got off to a little bit of a slow start at the plate (.649 OPS through his first 13 games), but the Cubs could use his pitch-framing and defense behind the plate in an important series with the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend at Wrigley Field.
Montero's left-handed bat wouldn't necessarily play well Friday or Saturday against a pair of Pirates southpaws (Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke) and Sunday will be David Ross catching with Jon Lester throwing, so the Cubs have no need to rush Montero right now.
The Cubs have given Montero 10 at-bats already in the minors to help get his timing and rhythm back as he hasn't seen live pitching since April 24.
Maddon acknowledged the Cubs aren't focused on the number of at-bats anymore with Montero, but more so playing it safe to ensure this back issue doesn't crop up again down the line.
"We just had to assess what we thought, more than anything," Maddon said. "He's fine. He's ready to roll.
"You always have to wait until the day after [action] to make sure. After a game or a situation, they go, 'Oh, I feel really good.' And then the next morning, they wake up and it's no good. But everything seems to be in order."
Tim Federowicz was called up to take Montero's roster spot and the 28-year-old has been splitting catching duties with Ross in Montero's absence.
Maddon has been impressed with the way Federowicz has performed in his time in Chicago, particularly pointing out his history with Cubs catching coach Mike Borzello from their time together with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011.
"Real comfortable with him," Maddon said. "I think he's done a great job. It's a carry-over from spring training - he played well in spring training.
"I'd never been around him before. I didn't know he worked that good of an at-bat, also. He's really swung the bat well. He's caught well and thrown well. The pitchers like him.
"Him and Borz have worked together in the past, so there's a real comfort there in terms of gameplanning. He's been outstanding."