Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman says return from COVID-19 IL ‘something good to build off of’

Stroman held the Diamondbacks to two earned runs in five innings in the Cubs’ 3-1 loss.

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Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman pauses after the Diamondbacks scored two runs during the fourth inning Thursday.

Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman pauses after the Diamondbacks scored two runs during the fourth inning Thursday.

Matt Marton/AP

About a week and a half ago, Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman was spending most of his time in bed, battling the fatigue that characterized his bout with COVID-19.

‘‘It was tough; my family had it,’’ Stroman said after the Cubs’ 3-1 loss Thursday to the Diamondbacks. ‘‘So just listening to my body, took the days I needed. And then the second I felt good, got it ramped right back up and started preparing to be back out there.’’

Stroman allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits in five innings in his first start in 2 1/2 weeks.

‘‘I felt a lot better than I thought, to be honest,’’ Stroman said.

Stroman said he threw one bullpen session, tossing into a net, between landing on the injured list May 8 and being cleared to rejoin the team Tuesday. He also played catch with reliever David Robertson, who was on the COVID-related IL at the same time.

‘‘We had the same exact symptoms, so we were going through it together,’’ Stroman said. ‘‘Me and him were ... doing everything we could to stay sharp. Because it’s not easy to take that much time off and go and get big-league hitters out.’’

For the amount of time Stroman missed, however, he didn’t look rusty.

‘‘I’ve had layoffs like that before, and I’ve been kind of all over the place,’’ Stroman said. ‘‘Just to be in the zone and give my team a chance, I think it’s something good to build off of.’’

To make room for him on the roster, the Cubs put reliever Michael Rucker on the 15-day IL (retroactive to Tuesday) with turf toe on his left foot and transferred right-hander Alec Mills (back/quadriceps) from the 15-day IL to the 60-day IL.

Heuer checks in

Reliever Codi Heuer expects a 15- to 16-month recovery from Tommy John surgery, which would put his return around June or July 2023. He had a full reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm in March and had an internal brace put in.

Heuer has been rehabbing in Houston but joined the Cubs in Chicago this week to check in with the medical staff. He’s scheduled to start a throwing program in September.

‘‘It’s been a great reset for me,’’ Heuer said of spending the week with his team. ‘‘I didn’t get to show up to spring training with the guys, so this has been awesome. I get to see a lot of familiar faces, a lot of unfamiliar faces, a lot of new guys in here, a lot of new staff.’’

Howard to have surgery

Shortstop prospect Ed Howard is set to have surgery on a hip injury suffered while trying to avoid a tag on the bases, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said.

‘‘The early prognosis is really good as far as a comeback,’’ Hoyer said, ‘‘but that’s going to be a comeback after a lot of rehab and a lot of time.’’

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