The Cubs believe they’ve avoided serious injury with left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who left Monday’s start with shoulder cramping but was able to play catch Tuesday.
That doesn’t mean the front office is going to slow its efforts to land a middle-rotation-or-better pitcher by the July 31 trade deadline.
Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer both have said that starting pitching is a priority in efforts to add to a team that on Monday night beat Clayton Kershaw to improve to a season-high eight games over .500.
And first-year Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he’s confident in his new bosses to deliver.
“Whatever we need, I believe that they will attempt to make it happen,” he said. “I’m confident that as long as we’re pertinent, they’re going to do whatever they can to augment whatever we’re doing. I really believe that. If it’s a pitcher, it’s going to be a pitcher.”
He stopped short of saying he was counting on the brass to add an arm.
But he also suggested he has even less rotation depth than it would seem – considering he likes what Travis Wood has done in the bullpen too much to consider him as a backup starter, and downplaying former starter Edwin Jackson as an option, too.
The one avenue by which the Cubs are counting on adding in the next few weeks is through better health.
It won’t do much for the starting rotation – even if Wada makes his next start as scheduled after experiencing what he reported as normal day-after-start soreness Tuesday.
Center fielder Dexter Fowler, who left Monday’s game with a sprained ankle, was out of the lineup Tuesday but considered a day-to-day decision after x-rays were negative. He pinch hit in the 10th inning Tuesday and drew a walk.
More notable, outfielder Jorge Soler (ankle) is looking stronger and more comfortable in pregame work this week and could start a minor-league rehab assignment within a week.
Reliever Neil Ramirez, a key part of the Cubs’ bullpen plans this season, joined AAA Iowa Tuesday to continue his rehab assignment after two perfect innings at AA Tennessee (three Ks) and is expected back near the All-Star break.
“I’m not worried about who we may acquire,” Maddon said. “I think we have a lot of the parts right here.”