The powers of Trevor Cahill on the mound for the Cubs were so impressive Tuesday in a 4-0 victory over the Brewers that they might expand to healing powers by next week.
Cahill quickly became the key to the John Lackey Recovery Plan after allowing just two hits over five innings in his first start as a Cub – leading the Cubs to their 12th victory in 13 games in the opener a doubleheader.
“The fact that he pitched as well as he did, and he’s stretched out as he is, just opens up possibilities,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He obviously gave us something to talk about.”
Lackey was still sore two days after leaving Sunday night’s start in the seventh inning because of shoulder tightness, and the Cubs are looking at options for pushing his next turn back a few days, if not skip it entirely.
Maddon, who said the club will have a decision Wednesday, did not rule out the disabled list – although Lackey hasn’t had an MRI and the Cubs appear to be trying to avoid that.
“We’re absolutely looking at different scenarios,” Maddon said.
Cahill (2-3) faced just two over the minimum in his first start since April of last year when he was with Atlanta. Until activated for his start, he had been on the DL with a knee injury since the All-Star break.
Cahill was allowed to be added to the roster as a 26th man Tuesday because of the doubleheader, giving the Cubs a deadline of Wednesday’s game for finding a corresponding move to keep him on the roster.
Recently acquired reliever Joe Smith, who walked two of the three he faced in Tuesday’s opener, has struggled in six appearances with the club and could be the odd-man out if the DL isn’t used.
Cahill, who also made a highlight-reel play covering first for an out in the fifth after bunting for safety squeeze and RBI in the fourth, said he doesn’t know what’s next for his role. And he won’t guess.
“I don’t want to speculate,” he said. “Whenever I speculate, it always seems like it ends up completely different. But I felt a lot better today, and whatever they want me to do, I’ll work hard and go out there and compete and do the best I can.”
Cahill, a 2010 All-Star as a starter when he won 18 games, was acquired by the Cubs a year ago this week after being released by both the Braves and Dodgers in 2015. He became a significant part of the Cubs’ playoff push as a reliever and made six postseason appearances for them.
What would it mean to be able to pitch his way into another important role down the stretch for a transformed staff this time around?
“A lot,” he said. “I like the guys in the clubhouse; I respect them all. Whatever they have me do, I’ll just try and go out there and do my best. Beyond that, whatever happens, happens.”