Rude welcome for Cub rookie Mitre

Sergio Mitre got his first taste of big-league baseball Tuesday night, but it turned out to be only an appetizer instead of a full course.

After taking Mark Prior's spot in the rotation, the 22-year-old Mitre was shelled in his major-league debut in an 8-4 loss to Atlanta, then was rewarded with a plane ticket back to the minors. The Cubs optioned Mitre back to Double-A West Tenn after Tuesday's start and recalled Todd Wellemeyer from Triple-A Iowa. Wellemeyer, who had a 6.04 ERA at Iowa, was being used in the starting rotation there but will shift to long relief when he reports to the Cubs.

Because Prior is not expected to be ready to pitch Sunday in Houston, the Cubs are likely to recall Juan Cruz to start in Houston.

Mitre allowed eight runs on 10 hits in 32/3 innings, working against the second-ranked offense in the National League.

"Obviously it was a tough night," Mitre said. "I would have liked to have done a lot better, but they're the hottest team in the league right now. The ball was up a little bit and I made a few mistakes, and they don't miss."

After scoring 15 runs on 21 hits on Monday, the Cubs managed only two runs on four hits in seven innings off ex-Cub Greg Maddux (9-8).

"It was a very tough assignment," manager Dusty Baker said. "He gave it his best. They hit the ball good but found a lot of holes. You don't know if it was him or if it was their night. They can hit. Once they start hitting, boy. … It was a tough night for him, but we really didn't have any other choice [to start]."

The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the first when center fielder Tom Goodwin misplayed Chipper Jones' fly ball, turning it into a run-scoring double, and they added two more in the second on Vinny Castilla's two-run homer. After the Cubs scored a pair in the third, Atlanta answered with four in the bottom of the inning on five straight one-out singles and a Maddux sacrifice fly.

Goodwin, one of the team's hottest hitters over the last six weeks, injured his hamstring on a third-inning double, and may have to go on the disabled list.

"We'll know a lot more [Thursday]," Goodwin said.