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Ramirez set to begin rehab assignment

CHICAGO -- Manager Joe Maddon got good news as reliever Neil Ramirez, who has been on the disabled list since April 16 with right shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Double-A Tennessee.

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"He could be a huge part of what we're doing," Maddon said. "Getting him back could really solidify the whole group."

Maddon says he'll continue to use relievers based on matchups.

"Unless you have the Royals' flush that they've had the last couple years, that's unusual," he said of Kansas City's potent bullpen combination. "For the most part, it's always made sense to me to do it like we're doing now, unless you had this spectacular group that's able to do it often and do it against anybody."

Jorge Soler, on the DL since June 3 with a left ankle sprain, played catch on Monday before rain forced the Cubs game against the Indians to be postponed. The outfielder was still wearing a giant-sized boot on his left ankle. Soler has yet to resume hitting.

• Maddon reached out to Bud Black on Monday after he was dismissed as the Padres manager.

"He's a really good friend," Maddon said of Black. "I feel really badly about it. We'll get in touch. He and I giggle when we talk. I wrote to him and told him I want to talk to him when he feels comfortable. He's a great guy and does a great job."

• The manager has the final say as to whether a team challenges a call, but Maddon wanted to give credit to the staff that reviews the plays first. So far this season, the Cubs have challenged 22 calls and have had them overturned half the time. On Sunday, Maddon was 2-for-2 in challenges. That might prompt some to buy a lottery ticket.

"Whatever they tell me to do, that's what I should do," Maddon quipped.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Travis Wood, Jason Hammel, Neil Ramirez