Cubs activate Keegan Thompson off 15-day IL, option rookie Jeremiah Estrada
Thompson rejoined the team in a relief role and threw three scoreless innings against the Marlins.
MIAMI — The Cubs activated right-hander Keegan Thompson from the 15-day injured list Wednesday, giving him the chance to finish out his first full major-league season.
“He’s had a really nice season up to this point,” manager David Ross said before the Cubs’ 4-3 victory against the Marlins. “And we’re trying to take care of his body, get him back full strength from a stamina standpoint. Making sure he’s completely healthy was a top priority for us. And he feels good and wants to help his team win. He’s worked really hard in the weight room and in the training room, and we’re happy to have him back.’’
Thompson landed on the injured list with back tightness, and in the month he was sidelined, the Cubs wanted to address expected late-season fatigue. Thompson has thrown over 100 innings for the second time in his professional career.
In a corresponding move, the team optioned rookie reliever Jeremiah Estrada to Triple-A Iowa. Throwing two scoreless innings against the Marlins on Monday, Estrada improved his ERA to 3.18 in his first five major-league outings.
“Just wanted to stress to him to continue to work on his strengths and weaknesses,” Ross said, “and he could be back any day.”
Thompson rejoined the team in a multi-inning reliever role, which gives the Cubs more control over his workload in the last two weeks of the season. It’s also the role he began the season in and had a 1.38 ERA in eight appearances.
He only added to his strong bullpen résumé by throwing three scoreless innings. Thompson picked up the victory, his team-leading 10th of the season.
“It was nice,” Thompson said. “The first batter of each inning, I kind of started off too quick again and settled in and slowed down and got in a rhythm. But it was nice to be back out there. My adrenaline was going, and I felt good.”
Smyly targeting homestand
Left-hander Drew Smyly, who originally was scheduled to start Wednesday, said he’s targeting next Tuesday or Wednesday against the Phillies for his next start.
“That’ll still leave me two starts to finish the year,” said Smyly, who is dealing with shoulder fatigue.
Smyly said he could tell he was tired after his last start in which he limited the Mets to one earned run in five innings. Then, in his bullpen session Monday, his shoulder felt weak.
“I didn’t want to limp through the final two starts or go out there not full strength and who knows what could happen,” he said.
The Cubs had days off and the young pitching depth to seamlessly skip Smyly’s start.