Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the front office is working aggressively and seriously to add pitching by the Aug. 1 trade deadline but cautioned again about a thin pitching market.
“I do expect there will be unexpected things,” said Hoyer, who could wind up with smaller upgrades, like last year, as opposed to a big-splash move such as one of the Yankees’ premier back-end bullpen lefties.
“The last two years it’s been kind of wild and crazy at the deadline,” Hoyer added. “I think we should expect the unexpected [around baseball].”
Hoyer didn’t rule out an unexpected addition of a starting pitcher.
But it’s no secret the Cubs’ emphasis is on bullpen help, even after getting through an especially rough stretch just before the All-Star break.
“Now that that we’ve been able to reset a little bit, it’s looked a little bit better,” he said. “But that’s certainly an area we’re going to continue to look at.”
Help could be on the way soon in right-hander Joe Nathan, a six-time All-Star nearing the end of a lengthy minor-league rehab assignment as he comes back from Tommy John surgery. And left-hander Brian Matusz, a left-hander with a good track record working his way back into form at AAA Iowa, could also join the mix in the coming weeks.
“You can never have enough pitching,” Hoyer said.
A rainout in Iowa spoiled the start of rehab assignments for hamstrung outfielders Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler, but it’s unlikely to affect the timeline of either.
“Just another day to heal,” said manager Joe Maddon, whose more immediate concern is Fowler, who might still has a chance to return from the DL over the weekend. “We’ll just get him in a couple games, and then we’ll make the determination.”
Fowler is scheduled to play one game of Wednesday’s rain-caused doubleheader, and the I-Cubs play one more game Thursday before the Cubs open a three-game series in Milwaukee on Friday.
Soler’s timeline could be measured in weeks.