HOUSTON - Casey Coleman doesn't even flinch anymore when the unexpected call comes - even when it follows the strangest Cub episode of the season.
``It's something new every time,'' said Coleman, who joined the team in Houston Monday in advance of his fourth recall from AAA Iowa of the season - this time to take Carlos Zambrano's spot in the rotation, starting Wednesday. ``I'm just glad to be here.''
Even though manager Mike Quade said he envisions the right-hander ``in the rotation for quite some time,'' Coleman says he's under no illusions about filling the shoes of the departed Zambrano.
``I'm not looking to replace Z,'' he said. ``No one will be able to do that with the Cubs for a long time. I'm just coming up here trying to help give this team innings and stay out of the bullpen as long as possible ... and help the team stay on the roll that they're on.''
If anyone doubted the Cubs' ability to handle life without Z, the results seem to speak for themselves - going 3-for-3 since he cleared out his locker Friday night, including a 4-3 win over Houston Monday night on the strength of a pair of two-run doubles by Carlos Pena and Geo Soto.
The Cubs have won 12 of 15 games in all, and a victory in either of the next two games would give them five straight series wins.
For Coleman, who struggled in his first two stints with the Cubs this year - in part because of an abbreviated spring training - the past few weeks have been his best of the season.
``No excuses. I needed to do a better job earlier in the year,'' said Coleman, whose strong finish with the big-league club last year suggested bigger things for 2011 . ``At the same time, when they sent me down I went down there and got some things together and started throwing strikes again. I feel like I'm at the point where I was last year at the end of the year.''