The recent results suggest reliever Carl Edwards Jr. has regained the form that made the Cubs trust him with the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series as a rookie.
The businesslike demeanor might have suggested even more after he returned to the Cubs’ clubhouse Monday following a ‘‘very humbling’’ demotion to Class AAA Iowa a month ago.
‘‘As he walked in the door, I just felt a different presence,’’ manager Joe Maddon said before Edwards pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning against the Marlins in his first game back. ‘‘I just thought, ‘He’s ready to go.’ He seems very focused. And I’m really curious to watch this whole thing.’’
Edwards, one of the Cubs’ top setup men through much of his 2½ big-league seasons, allowed two runs and two walks in 8 1/3 innings for Iowa and retired the last 10 batters he faced.
During his struggles that led to the demotion, Edwards endured racist social media messages, including one Major League Baseball is investigating. And during his time in the minors, he spent a week on the injured list after scraping his hands in a fall while carrying boxes on a stairwell.
‘‘I took it as I hit bottom, and all I could do is go up,’’ said Edwards, who declined to talk about the messages. ‘‘I did it good enough to get back up here with the guys.’’
After experimenting with a hesitation move in his delivery that was ruled illegal late in the spring, Edwards went back to his former delivery — and back to a more aggressive, strike-throwing mindset.
‘‘Just basically getting my head back where I should be; that’s how I feel now,’’ said Edwards, who credited phone conversations with his original pitching coach — his dad — with playing ‘‘a huge role’’ in getting back ‘‘to focus on the mitt.’’
A bullpen that already had produced a 2.11 ERA in its last 22 games entering play Monday could get a boost from Edwards’ swing-and-miss stuff and regained focus if he’s throwing strikes.
The Cubs optioned rookie Dillon Maples to Iowa with Edwards’ recall.
‘‘This guy, a couple of years ago, I wanted him on Bryce Harper in the seventh and eighth inning in a playoff game,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘Wanted him badly in that situation. And he’s still that guy.’’
Decision on Montgomery looms
Left-hander Mike Montgomery (lat) is ready to be activated from the IL after pitching six strong innings in his fourth minor-league start Friday at Iowa.
‘‘But we don’t have a next step to give you right now,’’ Maddon said.
Montgomery poses a tough-call roster issue with the bullpen pitching well and only one starter struggling ($126 million right-hander Yu Darvish).
The ‘‘Sunday Night Baseball’’ broadcast drew a 1.2 national metered market rate, according to ESPN. That represented an increase of 20 percent from the same Cardinals-Cubs matchup a year ago.
This and that
Exactly three weeks after having surgery to remove the broken hook of the hamate bone at the base of his left hand, catcher Victor Caratini started a rehab assignment at Class A South Bend.
• Infielder Daniel Descalso, who had been sidelined since Saturday with a sore ankle, struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth.