Cubs show their good side in victory

With the trading deadline coming up on July 31, Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has his top scouts in town, and will direct them to cover teams that he feels best match up with the Cubs as potential trading partners.

Monday’s victory featured some of the Cubs’ best talent that other teams may covet when the deadline comes along.

Carlos Pena, who hit two home runs in the Cubs’ 7-3 win over the Colorado Rockies, wants to stay with the Cubs.

“No doubt, no doubt,” Pena said. “I think we have a great ballclub. Obviously we’ve been plagued by injuries. It’s been difficult for us. But I think we have what it takes. (If) you can turn some of those (close) games our way, it could be fun this summer.”

Right-hander Matt Garza pitched one of his best games as a Cub, holding a tough Colorado offense to just three runs, including two solo homers by Carlos Gonzalez.

Garza, who has been traded twice already in his brief major league career, is just going to try to keep his head down and do his job.

“I know what my job is,” Garza said. “To pitch and get outs. None of that (trade talk) stuff concerns me. If my name gets called, it gets called. It’s not like it’s the first time, but I hope it would be the last. But if it does, it does. I’m just going to go out there and keep pitching.”

Aramis Ramirez, who is in the last year of a five-year, $75 million contract, has been hot since late May. The Cubs third baseman is hitting .367 with four homers, seven doubles and 11 RBIs since May 29.

Ramirez, who came to the Cubs in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates in late July of 2003, was asked if this Cubs team should be kept together.

“Hopefully,” Ramirez said. “We haven’t been healthy, but we are playing better. But we’re still missing Marlon Byrd and (Darwin) Barney and we really haven’t been together basically the whole year. But I do understand this is a business. They are going to do what’s best for the team. And as players, we have to do what’s best for us.”

The Cubs have won the first game of their last six series. However, their record during that time frame is only 8-10. The one-game series win over Colorado, in a make-up game for an April rainout, is considered a series sweep according to Elias Sports Bureau.

This is only the Cubs second sweep of any series this season, with the other coming against the Florida Marlins in a two-game series May 18-19.

  • Barney (left knee PCL strain) has been rehabbing at Triple-A Iowa since Saturday. Barney homered in a game Sunday for the Iowa Cubs and is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday. Cubs manager Mike Quade said that barring any setback, he hopes to have Barney back on the roster that day.

  • Byrd begins his rehab stint at Iowa on Monday night. Byrd hopes to join the team in Washington on July 4 to start that series against the Nationals. The 33-year-old veteran was beaned on May 21 in Boston, suffering broken bones in his left cheekbone. Byrd will wear a special protection flap on his helmet when he begins his rehab.