Cubs put Wade Miley on 15-day IL with persistent shoulder strain: ‘Very frustrating’

Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer also weighed in on Seiya Suzuki’s injury and avoiding arbitration with Willson Contreras.

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Cubs pitcher Wade Miley left Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium with a left shoulder injury.

Cubs pitcher Wade Miley left Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium with a left shoulder injury.

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NEW YORK — The Cubs continue to deal with injuries to their rotation, a challenge highlighted Saturday as they put left-hander Wade Miley on the 15-day injured list with a strained left shoulder.

The same injury landed him on the IL less than two weeks ago, and they had just activated him to start Friday. But in the third inning, the shoulder issue cropped up again.

“It’s very frustrating,” Miley said Friday night. “The bullpen was set, and then three innings, and we’re right back in the same boat with 17 straight [games on the schedule].”

In a corresponding move, the Cubs recalled reliever Michael Rucker from Triple-A Iowa.

The Cubs have three starting pitchers on the 15-day IL, with Miley joining Marcus Stroman (right shoulder inflammation) and Drew Smyly (strained right oblique). They also skipped Kyle Hendricks’ turn to manage shoulder fatigue. Hendricks is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Padres, nearly two weeks after his last start.

The Cubs have, by necessity, turned to some less-experienced arms to fill the holes in the rotation. Rookie Matt Swarmer made his third major-league start against the Yankees. Right-hander Keegan Thompson, whom the Cubs moved from a multi-inning relief role to a starting job, is scheduled to start Sunday. Lefty Justin Steele is penciled in for Monday.

Top pitching prospect Caleb Kilian is a logical option to get a call-up for another start, if not for this turn in the rotation, then likely in the next couple of weeks.

Suzuki’s progress slow

Outfielder Seiya Suzuki was scheduled to throw and hit again Saturday, but his sprained left ring finger has made little progress healing in recent days. He has been sidelined since injuring the finger while sliding more than two weeks ago.

“He wants to be back in there bad,” manager David Ross said, “but the finger doesn’t look great. And it’s really stayed almost status quo. So we’ll continue to look at a lot of options.”

According to president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer, the Cubs have sought multiple opinions on Suzuki’s injury and sent him to the doctor in New York this week while in town. The doctors have not recommended surgery.

“Just nagging injuries,” Hoyer said. “The minute I saw him go down in Cincinnati, that was my biggest fear. . . . There’s also zero reason to come back if you’re either going to end up right back on the IL or you’re going to swell up in-game or it’s going to be a constant nagging injury.”

Cubs break precedent

When it comes to salary arbitration, the Cubs are a “file and trial” team. But according to Hoyer, catcher Willson Contreras’ representation reached out to the club a few days before his scheduled arbitration hearing.

“Once they did, we definitely had a desire to reach a settlement,” Hoyer said. “We told them that at the time: This isn’t something we want; we don’t want to go to a hearing here. We’re willing to break precedent because of the nature of the season, and so it made a lot of sense.”

In a year with in-season hearings because of the lockout, the Cubs and Contreras agreed to a $9.625 million salary for 2022, the deal coming together the night before the hearing.

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