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Cubs reliever Brad Wieck eager to ‘mash the gas pedal again’ ASAP after heart-flutter fix

“Absolutely, there’s enough time,” Wieck said of beating the odds to be ready by opener. “This isn’t going to be the first time I’ve come back from something.”

Wieck earlier this spring.
John Antonoff photo

MESA, Ariz. — A week after having a catheter ablation procedure to correct a heart arrhythmia, Cubs left-handed reliever Brad Wieck expects to resume throwing lightly Monday.

With only three weeks at that point before the Cubs break camp, Wieck appears to be a long shot at best to be ready in time to make the Opening Day roster. But don’t tell him that.

“Absolutely, there’s enough time,” Wieck said Saturday. “This isn’t going to be the first time I’ve come back from something.”

Whether Wieck opens on time or a couple of weeks later, the good news is that the condition and treatment are not uncommon, and the recovery is primarily about healing the area in his leg where the catheter was inserted.

“They made it pretty clear from the start that it wasn’t something to be too worried about,” he said of the issue that was discovered during the annual spring physical. “It’s something that needed to be taken care of, but it wasn’t something that was extremely urgent.

“I’ve just got to wait for my vein to heal up and mash on the gas pedal again.”

Bryant, Heyward stability in field

Manager David Ross again dismissed the suggestion that he might move third baseman Kris Bryant to the outfield a lot this year, and he said he plans to leave Gold Glove right fielder Jason Heyward in his best position, assuming the Ian Happ-Albert Almora Jr. battle in center provides him the luxury to do that.

“I’m trying to keep [Heyward] out of center,” Ross said of the fallback the Cubs have leaned on for stretches the last four years with their best outfielder. “I think he’s most comfortable [in right]. I think he’s one of the best right fielders in the game; he’s got the hardware to prove that.

“I’m not saying I’m not going to put him in center, but I’m trying to keep him out of there as much as possible, and we’ve got a good little competition going in center with two guys playing well.”

As for Bryant, he said he’s not sure when or how much he’ll get him in the outfield this spring.

“Right now I’m just trying to get his reps at third base,” Ross said. “He’s our primary third baseman. He will move around. For the most part, you’ll see him maybe shuffle around for some defensive reasons at times, but you can plan on him being the every-day third baseman.”

Another setback for Morrow

Injury-plagued right-hander Brandon Morrow, the former closer who hasn’t pitched since the All-Star break in 2018 because of an elbow injury, returned from a minor chest strain but suffered a strained right calf doing his running the same day.

Morrow is in camp on a minor-league deal, hoping to provide the Cubs something this year after being sidelined for all but a half-season of a two-year, $21 million contract.