The Cubs’ starting rotation is expected to get an injection of youth after the trade deadline Friday.
Left-hander Justin Steele and right-hander Keegan Thompson were both valuable bullpen pieces earlier this season, but with the Cubs falling to fourth in the division, they’ll now focus on getting Steele and Thompson some work as starters.
Steele has been getting stretched out in Triple-A Iowa over the last three weeks, and manager David Ross said Monday he’s ready “in theory” to start for the Cubs. Thompson was optioned to Iowa before the Cubs’ game against Reds on Tuesday and also will get more innings there. He threw a scoreless eighth Monday against the Reds and is 3-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 27 games this season.
“Just stretch him out,” Ross said. “He was gonna need a couple of days. [He threw] three innings about four days ago. Two days off and yesterday, [got] up to 20-something pitches. [We’ll give him] a couple days off and get him off the bump, stretch him out and get him to 40, 50, 60 pitches. We feel like we can get him on kind of more of a starter [schedule] and see if we can kind of lengthen him out a little bit.”
Right-hander Cory Abbott and left-hander Kyle Ryan were recalled. The Cubs had an extra roster spot to fill after Monday’s trade of lefty Andrew Chafin.
Heel keeps Javy out this time
Shortstop Javy Baez was scratched from the starting lineup before Tuesday’s game with soreness in his left heel, which he bruised while facing the Diamondbacks on Sunday. He also was held out of the starting lineup Monday against the Reds with the injury but still had the game-winning RBI single in the ninth.
“[He] woke up [Tuesday] morning a little sore,” Ross said. “I thought [Monday] after the game that he could go. Talked a little bit [and] thought he was gonna be fine. Got in, tested it out and just not something to push. That bruise, the more you bang on it, the worse it gets. So it’s nice that he was able to contribute [Monday] night. He wanted to be in there [Tuesday]. We’ll try to give it another day and see how he is [Wednesday].”
He said it
Starter Kyle Hendricks on Chafin: “He’s just an unbelievable teammate. Unbelievable human being overall. The energy, the positivity he brings in every single day, you can’t replace it. Oakland’s real lucky in who they’re getting.”