NEW YORK (AP) -Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee remained in Chicago with neck spasms Tuesday and sat out his second consecutive game against the New York Mets.
``He hasn't gotten any worse but he hasn't gotten any better. It might be a few days,'' manager Lou Piniella said. ``If it were up to him, I know he'd be on a plane.''
Lee, who began the day leading the major leagues with a .390 batting average, could miss the entire four-game series. Piniella said it was ``50-50'' whether Lee would fly to New York in time for Wednesday night's game.
``Obviously, if he doesn't come tomorrow, we'll just wait until Friday against the White Sox,'' Piniella said.
Lee started Chicago's first 35 games at first base this season. Mark DeRosa started at first Monday night but strained a ligament in his right hand, so the Cubs purchased the contract of infielder Mike Fontenot from Triple-A Iowa for insurance before Tuesday night's game.
Fontenot was in uniform and on the bench. DeRosa was available only in an emergency.
``I don't have an extra infielder,'' Piniella explained. ``We're caught. We're in a little bit of a bind.''
To make room on the roster for Fontenot, the Cubs optioned right-handed reliever Rocky Cherry to Iowa.
Lee went back to Chicago for tests and was not at Shea Stadium for Monday night's game, either. DeRosa was hurt when Endy Chavez ran into his arm on a bunt single.
Daryle Ward hit for DeRosa later in the game, and started at first Tuesday night. Ward hit a two-run double and a single in his first two at-bats.
DeRosa said he can throw the ball, but gripping the bat is a problem.
Lee was originally left out of the lineup for Sunday's game in Philadelphia, but he persuaded Piniella to let him play. Lee left in the second inning due to his ailing neck. He grounded into a double play in the first and Piniella pulled him in the second.
Lee, the 2005 NL batting champion and a two-time Gold Glove winner, was limited to 50 games last year because of a wrist injury. This season, he has two homers, 17 doubles and 21 RBIs.
Fontenot was hitting .364 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 35 games at Iowa. He was named the Pacific Coast League's player of the week Monday.
Fontenot played seven major league games for Chicago in 2005, then spent all last season with Iowa.
Cherry was 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA in eight appearances with the Cubs this year after he was called up from Iowa on April 23.

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