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After meeting with cardiologist, Cubs hope DeRosa returns next week

MESA, Ariz. -- Mark DeRosa visited a Chicago cardiologist Tuesday, and manager Lou Piniella said he expects the Cubs infielder back in camp next week.

The Cubs issued no report on DeRosa's medical tests. He was hospitalized over the weekend after experiencing an irregular heartbeart -- DeRosa later said he's had the condition since he was a teenager.

Piniella said he thought DeRosa would return Monday.

"From every indication we've gotten on DeRosa, he'll be back then," Piniella said.

DeRosa will miss at least four exhibition games, which will give Piniella an opportunity to look at no less than six players at second base, including Alex Cintron, Ronny Cedeno, Mike Fontenot and Eric Patterson.

Cintron, who signed a minor league contract Feb. 18 with an invitation to camp as a non-roster player, will get the first look Thursday when the Cubs play the San Francisco Giants.

The 29-year-old Cintron spent the last two seasons with the White Sox. He played only 68 games and batted .243 in 2007 following offseason surgery.

"This is what I've been waiting for," he said. "It's time to prove myself. I want to show my game. Last year I wasn't healthy. This year, I am."

Except for DeRosa, all the Cubs have been injury-free in spring training. "We've been fortunate," Piniella said. "They're all ready to go. We haven't had one sore arm or tight shoulder in camp."

Carlos Zambrano and Kerry Wood stood out among six pitchers who threw live Tuesday.

After signing a new contract in the offseason Zambrano, 18-13 last year, looks more relaxed, Piniella said. "The contract situation probably bothered him last year. It's not any longer," he said.

Wood, vying for the closer role, impressed Piniella with pinpoint location in his 40-pitch workout.

"He threw just about every pitch for a strike," Piniella said. "That's impressive. Your arm has to be feeling pretty good to have that good of mechanics. Let him compete. See what happens."