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Cubs brace for possible DL move as Lackey start pushed back

John Lackey after leaving Sunday's game in the seventh inning.

The Cubs expect to learn over the next few days whether veteran right-hander John Lackey will require a stint on the disabled list, and how much depth they might have to cover for it down the stretch.

Lackey, who left Sunday’s start in the seventh inning because of shoulder soreness, still isn’t 100 percent. His next scheduled start has been pushed back to Tuesday in San Diego as he and the team try to avoid the DL.

“Anytime a pitcher has a shoulder injury you try to treat it as carefully as possible,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “He’s obviously been an incredibly durable pitcher over the course of his career, but you don’t want to take anything for granted.

“We’ll evaluate it every day. If [he can’t go Tuesday], it probably becomes a disabled list assignment because of the number of days it’s been.”

Recently acquired left-hander Mike Montgomery joins the rotation Saturday for a spot start, after a 32-pitch relief appearance Tuesday, to help make the schedule work. And right-hander Trevor Cahill, who impressed in his first start as a Cub Tuesday, is considered the piggyback long reliever to back up Montgomery in that start.

“We have 43 games left in the season, about six weeks,” Hoyer said. “The important thing is to get [Lackey] back and pitching well during that time frame.”