Cubs' Jeimer Candelario activated off IL, starts against Braves

ATLANTA -- Cubs infielder Jeimer Candelario was activated from the injured list in time for Wednesday's game against the Braves where he played first base and batted seventh.

Candelario, who had been out since early this month with a lower back issue, went 0 for 3 in a 6-5 loss and was lifted for a pinch-runner in the ninth inning after reaching on a walk.

"He's really turned a corner the last few days," manager David Ross said before the game. "He's looked really good. He's moved well. It's nice to have him back."

Candelario, 29, was a key acquisition for the Cubs at the trade deadline, compiling an .809 OPS in August before the back ailment began to impact him at the plate. He was hitting just .111 this month before going on the injured list.

"He was a real big addition at the trade deadline and hopefully he is here at the end of the season for us," Ross said.

Chicago is hoping to add to its bullpen in the coming days as closer Adbert Alzolay threw batting practice to Cubs hitters Wednesday. He's been out with a sore forearm. Alzolay indicated he should be activated in time for the team's final series in Milwaukee beginning Friday.

The Cubs are in a tight race for a National League wild-card spot after dropping a heartbreaker Tuesday to the Braves when right fielder Seiya Suzuki dropped a routine fly ball in the eighth inning of a one-run game. The 7-6 loss came after the Cubs had a 6-0 lead in the game.