CHICAGO -- Victor Caratini was batting .262 with the Cubs when he was optioned to Triple-A Iowa in late May. It was difficult for the catcher to deal with the demotion, but he took advantage of the time in the Minor Leagues and on Wednesday, Caratini was back with the Cubs.
The Cubs recalled Caratini and designated veteran catcher Chris Gimenez for assignment on Wednesday. With the move, the Cubs' 40-man roster is now at 38.
"We had to get Victor back up," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Victor is doing really well. Victor also provides the stability at first base. We like how Victor catches and his switch-hitting ability."
Caratini was in the Cubs' lineup on Wednesday but starting at first base to give Anthony Rizzo a breather against Tigers lefty Francisco Liriano.
A member of the Cubs' Opening Day roster, Caratini batted .313 with seven doubles, four home runs and 22 RBIs in 32 games with Iowa.
"It was difficult at the beginning [to go to Iowa], but I decided to give 100 percent to try to get back to the big leagues as soon as possible," Caratini said through an interpreter.
Gimenez, 35, who opened the year at Iowa, batted .143 (4-for-28) with one RBI in 12 games with the Cubs.
"Gimmy is on top of things, he sees things, and he's a wonderful teammate," Maddon said of Gimenez. "It was difficult."
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.
• Maddon met Wednesday with Yu Darvish, who is on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right triceps. Darvish had a cortisone shot on Friday after seeing the Rangers' orthopedic doctor, who had worked with the pitcher before.
"We're trying to derive a plan to get him back out there as soon as possible," Maddon said of Darvish, who has not pitched since May 20. "It's, 'How are you feeling? Tell me what you think?' and he did. It's a matter of everyone getting on the same page and moving forward.
"I did tell him how eager we are to get him back and how important it is for us getting to the playoffs and winning the World Series to have him part of this," Maddon said. "I wanted to re-emphasize that, too."
Darvish was expected to resume his throwing program soon. Maddon wasn't sure what the next step was in the pitcher's rehab.
"I just wanted him to know how much we want him back out there," Maddon said. "I'm willing to be very patient."
• Maddon also chatted on Wednesday with third baseman Kristopher Bryant, who is on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. Bryant is eligible to be activated now, but the Cubs are delaying that move.
"He's still feeling it, but it is better than it had been," Maddon said.
The Cubs have Thursday off, and Bryant will test his shoulder again on Friday.
"It is frustrating for him, I'm sure it is," Maddon said. "He's handled it well. At least when I'm around, he seems to have a stiff upper lip, 'I'm OK' kind of thing. I don't think it's long-term debilitating. I'm trying to convince guys who are injured to talk well to yourself -- keep it positive and we'll play it out from there.
"We're all hoping it's sooner rather than later."
Bryant injured his shoulder more than a month ago while sliding and tried to play through it. He was batting .280, but his power numbers have dropped off. The third baseman has nine home runs this season; one year ago, he had 16 homers in the first three months of the season.
• Mike Montgomery, Tyler Chatwood and Jonathan Lester will start against the Reds in a series that begins on Friday at Wrigley Field. The Cubs had considered tweaking the rotation so Lester could get more starts prior to the All-Star break, but that's not possible.
"Jon has obviously been our workhorse and there's a strong possibility he'll be on the All-Star team," Maddon said of Lester, who leads the National League with 11 wins and is fourth with a 2.25 ERA. "We felt, 'Let's keep everything as is,' and a big part of it was to not push Jon too hard."