Cubs agree to terms with pitchers David Robertson, Steven Brault

The Cubs have been focused on adding pitching this offseason.

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As the Cubs continued to fortify their pitching staff, they signed David Robertson to a one-year deal.

As the Cubs continued to fortify their pitching staff, they signed David Robertson to a one-year deal.


MESA, ARIZ. — The Cubs continued to add much-needed depth to their pitching staff Wednesday, agreeing to terms with reliever David Robertson on a one-year contract. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, they put reliever Codi Heuer (Tommy John surgery) on the 60-day injured list.

The Cubs also agreed to terms on a major-league deal with left-hander Steven Brault, a Sun-Times source confirmed. They will have to make a roster move to make his signing official.

Robertson, 36, gives the Cubs a veteran relief option in the late innings, which became even more important when Heuer had surgery this month. Robertson had Tommy John surgery in August 2019 and has pitched in a combined 19 games in the last three seasons.

In his career, which included parts of nine seasons with the Yankees and three with the White Sox, Robertson has a 2.93 ERA with 137 saves.

Brault, 29, has spent his whole big-league career with the Pirates and has a 4.77 ERA. Before adding Brault, the Cubs carried only four left-handed pitchers on their 40-man roster. Brault has one option year remaining.

The Cubs were already short on pitching depth before learning that right-hander Adbert Alzolay (strained lat) would start the season on the IL. Brault, who has started about half the games he has pitched in during his career, could give the Cubs another starting option, if needed, or serve as a multi-inning reliever.

The Cubs also agreed to a major-league deal with left-hander Daniel Norris, ESPN reported Wednesday night. Norris has a robust injury history, and his walk rate climbed to 6.6 with the Brewers in the second half of the season last year, but that figure was an outlier compared to most of his career.

‘‘Our biggest focus, candidly, has been pitching and pitching depth,’’ Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said this week.

Since the Major League Baseball lockout ended last week, the Cubs also have signed reliever Jesse Chavez to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training and agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Chris Martin.

The Cubs’ pitching additions were overshadowed Wednesday by reports that Japanese star Seiya Suzuki had agreed to terms on a five-year, $85 million contract with the team.

‘Getting to know everybody’

Catcher Willson Contreras hit a batting-practice home run over the left-field berm at Sloan Park, and new Cubs shortstop Andrelton Simmons had fun with his reaction.

Simmons took Contreras’ bat and held it up in both hands to inspect it. Then he laughed and patted Contreras on the biceps.

‘‘The biggest thing is getting to know everybody,’’ Simmons said of moving from the Angels to the Twins to the Cubs the last few years. ‘‘A lot of new faces in spring training. Trying to get to know how everybody works.’’

Simmons had a head start with the Cubs. He, manager David Ross and outfielder Jason Heyward played together with the Braves a decade ago.

Change of schedule

The Cubs announced changes to their 2022 schedule, including two doubleheaders against the Cardinals, as a means to make up for the delayed start to the season.

The lockout pushed back Opening Day by a week, affecting the Cubs’ previously scheduled first two regular-season series (at the Reds and against the Cardinals).

Now the Cubs will play split doubleheaders against the Cardinals on June 4 and Aug. 23. They also will finish the season with six consecutive games against the Reds, the first three at home and the last three in Cincinnati.

The Cubs are scheduled to open the season against the Brewers on April 7 at Wrigley Field.

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Notes: Lefty Justin Steele threw off a mound Thursday.