Cubs face starting pitcher shortage as Wade Miley goes on IL, doubleheaders approach

Matt Swarmer will make his major-league debut in Game 1 of the Cubs’ doubleheader Monday against the Brewers.

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The Cubs placed left-hander Wade Miley on the 15-day IL with a left shoulder strain.

The Cubs placed left-hander Wade Miley on the 15-day IL with a left shoulder strain.

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Navigating 11 games in nine days was always going to be a challenge for the Cubs. Their starting pitching situation got a little more complicated on Sunday as they put left-hander Wade Miley on the 15-day injured list with a left shoulder strain.

Miley, who called the issue a “dead arm,” something he was familiar with from spring-training progressions in the past, had hoped to avoid the IL and start this week. But after his pregame work Sunday, the Cubs made the roster move, retroactive to Thursday.

“He’ll be back soon,” manager David Ross said. “I’m not too worried.”

This will be Miley’s second IL stint. He started the season sidelined by left elbow soreness. In between, he has made three starts (1-0, 3.38 ERA), highlighted by seven shutout innings in a 9-0 win May 16 against the Pirates.

“You certainly hope that this is something he can get out of quickly,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said Saturday. “But we don’t want it to creep up all year.”

In a corresponding move, the Cubs recalled right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. from Triple-A Iowa, giving them another multi-inning pitching option.

Right-hander Keegan Thompson likely won’t be available Monday after throwing 77 pitches in his start Saturday, holding the White Sox to one run through five innings in a 5-1 win.

Matt Swarmer, whom the Cubs drafted in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, is set to make his major-league debut in Game 1 of the Cubs’ doubleheader Monday against the Brewers.

Ross said Thursday that top pitching prospect Caleb Kilian wasn’t in the conversation to start either of the Cubs’ doubleheaders this week, and he confirmed Sunday that nothing had changed.

“Caleb has been fantastic ever since we got him,” Hoyer said, noting that the Cubs have ramped him up slowly because of his Fall League workload. “And I don’t think his development is done yet. There are more steps, and there’s probably development that will happen when he gets up here.”

Left-hander Drew Smyly is set to start Game 2 on Monday. Lefty Justin Steele and right-hander Kyle Hendricks are scheduled to take the mound Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Suzuki out of lineup for second game

Outfielder Seiya Suzuki played catch and was scheduled to hit in the batting cages before the game Sunday.

He has been out of the lineup for two games with a sprained left ring finger. But Ross said Suzuki would have been available off the bench to pinch hit if he felt good enough running through pregame tests.

“If not,” Ross added, “we’ll pivot to tomorrow and go from there.”

Martin to bereavement list

The Cubs put reliever Chris Martin on the bereavement list shortly before the game.

Heyward around clubhouse

Outfielder Jason Heyward held the clubhouse door open for a couple teammates Sunday morning, saying, “Players first.”

On the IL with no designation (indicating a COVID-19 related move), Heyward was cleared to rejoin the team this weekend, but the Cubs have yet to activate him.

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