MESA, Ariz. — Things looked bleak forright-hander Rowan Wick as he was sidelined with an intercostal injury, but he seems to be moving in the right direction.
Wick, 28, had been dealing with pain on his left side stemming from an oblique injury he suffered in September. But after head athletic trainer PJ Mainville recently identified the issue, the current treatment program has allowed Wick to do more.
He has begun a throwing program and will be stretched out to 105 feet starting Monday. There’s still no timetable for his return, but the last 10 to 14 days have seen significant improvement.
“He’s on a throwing program and looks really good,” manager David Ross said. “I think he’s in a really good place. He turned a corner a couple of weeks ago. He’s going to be at 105 [feet] tomorrow, and we’ve got an off day Tuesday. [He threw] back-to-back days at 90 [feet]. The ball was coming out really good. I’ve talked to him; he feels like he’s in a good place. . . . I know he’s letting it rip pretty good.”
“It’s been a good, I’d say, last 10 days for Rowan,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. “Really getting more comfortable with what he’s feeling. And Rowan’s such a strong, strong dude. So when he feels good, it looks really good, too, because it comes out so easy. Just watching the progression over the last 10 days makes me feel really confident just about what the next 10 days to two weeks look like.”
Wick is unlikely to start the season with the Cubs as the team is still taking things slowly, but the improvements over the last two weeks could be the difference between returning in late April and a trip to the 60-day injured list.
“I just think we’re still at a point where he hasn’t even gotten off the mound yet,” Hottovy said. “And being March 14, it would be pretty, pretty tough [to start the season]. But he’s progressing really well, continuing with the throwing program.”
Wick has a 2-1 record and 2.66 ERA in 50 appearances since joining the Cubs in 2019.
Nico Hoerner was scratched from the game Sunday against the Angels with lower-back tightness and is day-to-day.
Hoerner has had a solid spring and appears to be in the driver’s seat for the second-base job.
He is 9-for-18 this spring with a home run, two stolen bases, four RBI and four runs scored.