Cubs’ Mark Leiter Jr. set to start Saturday in first major-league appearance since 2018

Leiter is scheduled to face the Rockies, and MLB reduced right-hander Keegan Thompson’s suspension from three games to two.

SHARE Cubs’ Mark Leiter Jr. set to start Saturday in first major-league appearance since 2018
Cubs right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. is scheduled to face the Rockies on Saturday.

Cubs right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. is scheduled to face the Rockies on Saturday. File photo.

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DENVER — The Cubs are calling up right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. to start Saturday against the Rockies, manager David Ross said before a 6-5 loss Friday at Coors Field. The Rockies scored five times in the fourth inning to wipe out the Cubs’ 3-0 lead.

It will be Leiter’s first major-league game since 2018. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019 and spent the 2021 season in the minors. The Cubs signed Leiter to a minor-league deal in December.

‘‘I came here to compete to pitch in the major leagues,’’ Leiter said during spring training. ‘‘Whatever my role will be, I’ll be ready to go.’’

Leiter allowed only one earned run in four spring appearances, including one start.

‘‘Knows how to navigate, has got some time in the big leagues, has got a little bit of grit to him, some characteristics you always like to see,’’ Ross said. ‘‘And we’ll bring him in here and give him a chance to show what he’s capable of.’’

Leiter isn’t on the 40-man roster, so the Cubs will have to make a corresponding move before his start.

Thompson’s suspension reduced

Major League Baseball reduced reliever Keegan Thompson’s suspension from three games to two as a result of his appeal. Thompson was suspended for hitting the Brewers’ Andrew McCutchen last Saturday. MLB ruled he intentionally threw at McCutchen after Brewers pitchers hit three Cubs batters.

Thompson’s suspension began Friday. He threw 3⅓ scoreless innings in the Cubs’ 5-2 victory against the Rockies on Thursday, so his suspension lines up with a normal rest schedule.

Simmons through setback

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons (inflammation in right shoulder) had to take a couple of days off from hitting because of a finger issue, Ross said, but he is scheduled to start hitting again Saturday.

‘‘Throwing’s going well, ground balls doing well, feels good,’’ Ross sad. ‘‘Feels like it’s 85% with the arm, so I don’t think he’s far away. Just getting back the swings. We’ll get him some live looks here soon, hopefully.’’

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