One of the main goals for the Cubs over the final two months of the regular season is to get healthy again and slowly, they’re getting closer to that goal.
Right-hander Adbert Alzolay and catcher Willson Contreras played catch before Monday’s game against the Reds. It was the beginning of baseball activity for Alzolay after he landed on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain.
“[Adbert] feels good,” manager David Ross said. “He’s gonna work his way back and the trainers are on top of that. He’s just moving around. Doesn’t seem like it was anything very serious and it feels good.”
Contreras did some agility work before the game under watch of the team’s training staff. The Cubs’ backstop has been on the IL with a right knee sprain since Thursday.
Nico Hoerner (right oblique strain) has been traveling with the team as he works his way back to 100%. Hoerner has been adding in more baseball activities on Monday, taking ground balls before the game and hitting in the cage.
The 24-year-old infielder has had a challenging second season with the Cubs and while he’s produced when he’s been on the field, he’s also been on the injured list three different times this season.
“Learning to play baseball at this level is a lot about playing baseball and also just being available,” Hoerner said recently. “When you’re not available then the baseball side of it isn’t an option. No regrets on how I’ve been training or going about it, but kind of just take things that have happened and learn from it as best you can.”
Thompson inching closer to making his return
Right-hander Keegan Thompson is preparing to make his return to the Cubs in a starting role and has been in the process of getting stretched out at Triple-A Iowa. Thompson made his fourth start since being sent down on Sunday and like lefty Justin Steele, Thompson has dominated.
The right-hander threw 4 1/3 innings in Des Moines without allowing a hit and striking out seven batters in the game. It’s only a matter of time before Thompson returns to the big leagues.
“I think success at the big league level should definitely translate to success at the minor league level,” Ross said. “I think that Keegan has proven he can pitch at the big league level. Now. It’s about sustaining that over the course of four, five and six innings when you get to be a starter. That’s why you get stretched out, to see how that stuff plays.
Arrieta lands with the Padres
Less than a week after being released by the Cubs, right-hander Jake Arrieta has found a new home. The 2015 NL Cy Young winner signed with the San Diego Padres on Monday on a minor-league deal.
Arrieta’s return to Chicago wasn’t what he or the Cubs thought it would be and the right-hander struggled mightily over the last two months of the season. He had a 10.44 ERA over his final 10 starts with the Cubs.