Cubs activate catcher Geovany Soto

The Chicago Cubs activated catcher Geovany Soto before Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Welington Castillo, who had come up to replace Soto, was sent back to Triple-A Iowa.

Soto had been on the disabled list since May 11 with a left groin strain. He will be available off the bench on Sunday; Koyie Hill is scheduled to start at catcher.

In another move, Reed Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a back injury.

Johnson, hitting .367, was expected to be the primary fill-in for center fielder Marlon Byrd.

Byrd was placed on the disabled list May 22 with facial fractures he suffered after being hit in the face with a pitch.

Johnson has battled back issues since he suffered a herniated disc in April 2007. He missed nearly a month with back spasms in 2010.

"[Reed] knows himself better than anybody," Cubs manager Mike Quade said before Sunday's game. "It was just tough with [Jeff] Baker being limited. Both those guys have meant so much to us; we've been hamstrung without them. We could keep Reed day-to-day, but it just got tough, so we're better off doing this and giving him a full week or whatever it takes to get back and be productive off the bench."

Outfielder Brad Snyder was called up from Triple-A Iowa to fill Johnson's spot on the roster. Snyder is hitting .342 with seven home runs.

To make room for Snyder on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Cashner has been on the disabled list since April 8 with a right rotator cuff strain.

Sahadev Sharma covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com.