Cubs’ Drew Smyly ‘ahead of schedule,’ hopes to return before All-Star break

The left-hander is on the 15-day injured list with a strained right oblique.

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Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly is one of three Cubs starters on the 15-day IL.

Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly is one of three Cubs starters on the 15-day IL.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly is still hopeful he can return from the injured list before the All-Star break.

‘‘I think I’m ahead of schedule, honestly,’’ he told the Sun-Times on Tuesday. ‘‘But they’re trying to tame me. I’m like, ‘Let’s go, I’m ready.’ ’’

Part of the job for any medical team is to make sure enthusiastic players don’t rush back and reinjure themselves, especially with injuries such as Smyly’s strained right oblique. He went on the IL two weeks ago.

Tuesday was Smyly’s fourth day of throwing, and he stretched out to 100 feet. He also started cardio work.

Smyly’s next throwing program will build to 120 to 150 feet on flat ground, he said. He then will go through tests in the weight room before eventually throwing off a mound.

‘‘It feels really good,’’ he said. ‘‘All the activity we’re doing doesn’t really make it too sore. Everything’s been really positive.’’

As much as the Cubs could use another starter, pushing Smyly’s recovery timeline isn’t worth the risk. Smyly, right-hander Marcus Stroman (inflammation in right shoulder) and left-hander Wade Miley (strained left shoulder) are all on the 15-day IL, leaving the rotation short-handed.

Stroman, who is eligible to come off the IL as soon as next week, seems to be the safest bet to return first. Miley was evaluated Monday and prescribed rest and recovery for now.

After the game Tuesday, manager David Ross named top pitching prospect Caleb Kilian the starer for Wednesday.

The Cubs optioned Kilian to Triple-A Iowa after his major-league debut a week and a half ago, and pitchers generally have to remain in the minor leagues for 15 days after being optioned. If the optioned player is replacing a player who is going on the IL, however, he can be recalled early.

The Cubs will have to make a corresponding move before Wednesday’s game.

Sky honored

A group of Sky players carried the WNBA championship trophy to the mound at Wrigley Field before throwing out a pair of ceremonial first pitches. Coach James Wade and forward Azura Stevens did the honors.

The Cubs recognized the Sky’s 2021 championship season with a video presentation before the game. Sky players, including Stevens, Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot, Emma Meesseman, Li Yueru and Julie Allemand, hung out on the field during batting practice.

The Sky’s championship last season was the first in franchise history.

Crow-Armstrong out

Outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong suffered an undisclosed hand injury and is expected to be sidelined for a week or two, a source said.

Crow-Armstrong, who is ranked as the Cubs’ No. 3 prospect by MLB.com, was promoted from Single-A Myrtle Beach to High-A South Bend to start the month.

Bote back on assignment

Infielder David Bote returned to Iowa and might restart his rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, the Cubs said.

The Cubs pulled Bote, who is on the 60-day IL after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder during the offseason, from his rehab assignment last week for what they called bouts of dizziness. Those have subsided.

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