ST. LOUIS -- The desk clerk at the St. Louis hotel did a double take on Sunday when she saw "The Flash" at the front desk.
It actually was Cubs outfielder Tony Campana, dressed in a bright red costume as part of the team's Super Hero Day.
Matt Garza, not pleased with the concept of players wearing their favorite football jerseys or hockey sweaters, came up with the hero theme. He was inspired by his son after they saw the movie, "The Avengers." Players could choose their outfits. Anthony Rizzo was "Buzz Lightyear," Ryan Dempster was "Captain America," James Russell was "Spiderman," David DeJesus was "He-Man."
Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro teamed up to be Batman and Robin, and Soriano was so proud of his costume that he had one of the clubhouse attendants iron the cape.
"We're always together, so that's why I picked Batman and Robin," Soriano said.
The idea for the trip came before the tragedy at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., involving the Batman movie.
"Our hearts go out to all the families and the city," manager Dale Sveum said.
The Cubs were trying to break up the season. The Rays do a "whiteout" trip and wear all white on a trip to Miami; the Cubs will be dressed as heroes. Some of them wore their outfits to Busch Stadium, some had them hidden. Campana said a man at their hotel wouldn't get on the elevator with him and Rizzo, who were already dressed in their super suits.
"I said it was 'Super Hero Day,'" Campana said.
Pitcher Travis Wood's costume was so convincing that the security guard wasn't sure if he was a player or someone trying to sneak into the ballpark.
"Guys can let it loose, have a little fun, take a little pressure off," Garza said. "A little bit of embarrassment can go a long way. It gets you out of your own skin a little bit."
The plan is for the players to wear the costumes after Sunday's game on the plane to Pittsburgh. And it's not just the players but also Sveum and his staff. Sveum will be dressed as "Hellboy." The city of Pittsburgh will be invaded tonight by some crazy Cubs players.
"I'm going to wear this thing all night -- I'm going to wear it to dinner," Garza said. "You don't buy it for an hour, you wear it the whole time."
Feeling better, Garza on track to make next start
ST. LOUIS -- Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, pulled from Saturday's game after three innings because of cramping in his elbow, said Sunday his right arm felt better and he expected to make his next start.
"He did seem to come in with a lot better frame of mind and optimistic that he won't have to be on the [disabled list] and could hopefully make his next start," manager Dale Sveum said Sunday.
The Cubs have an off-day Thursday and could skip Garza or alter the rotation to give him more time.
"Talking to him, it doesn't seem real concerning at this point," Sveum said.
Garza didn't sound too concerned.
"I think it's a cramp that's stiff today," Garza said. "I had better movement today than yesterday, so that's a positive."
Maholm looking forward to facing ex-teammates
ST. LOUIS -- Cubs pitcher Paul Maholm was looking forward to his start Tuesday against his former teammates on the Pirates.
"I hope they do well and I hope we come in and spoil it a little bit for them," he said. "The fans deserve a winner. I've been keeping up with them. We'll see how the three days go when we're there."
The Pirates know the left-hander well. After all, he pitched there for seven seasons before signing with the Cubs.
"It's different because those guys have seen me pitch for so long, and I've only pitched against them once," he said. "It's always kind of a cat-and-mouse game."
What also has been interesting are the trade rumors surrounding Maholm. He's been mentioned as one of the options for a team looking for a starter.
"I've got two starts, both against [the Pirates], before the Deadline," Maholm said. "I enjoy it here, I enjoy this clubhouse and this staff and [Chicago]. My job is every fifth day to pitch and not worry about anything else."
All the talk doesn't bother Maholm during the game.
"When the game starts, that's your comfort zone," Maholm said. "I'm not going to go out there worrying about making a pitch if I'm going to get traded. In 10 days, we'll know how everything will work out."
Left-hander Beliveau makes big league debut
ST. LOUIS -- Right-handed reliever Rafael Dolis was optioned to Triple-A Iowa and left-hander Jeff Beliveau promoted to the Cubs, who didn't waste any time to get him in Sunday's game.
An 18th-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Beliveau was 4-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 34 games, giving up 42 hits and walking 17 over 40 innings at Iowa. He was called on in the seventh and had to face the Cardinals' Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran right away. Beliveau gave up three hits and walked one over 1 2/3 innings in his Major League debut.
"I was more nervous in the 'pen than I was going out there," said Beliveau, who had about two hours of sleep to catch an early-morning flight to get to St. Louis.
Dolis was 2-4 with a 6.44 ERA in 27 appearances, and struggled in his last four outings, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.