Cubs activate catcher Geovany Soto

Updated: May 29, 2011, 1:57 PM ET
By Sahadev Sharma | ESPNChicago.com

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.

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