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 placed lefty Wade Miley on the 15-day injured list with what they called a left shoulder strain.
Miley, who called the issue “dead arm,” something he was familiar with from spring training progressions past, had hoped to avoid the IL and start next week. But after Miley’s pregame work Sunday, the Cubs made the roster move, retroactive to Thursday.
“He’ll be back soon,” Ross said. “I’m not too worried.”
This will be Miley’s second IL stint, after he started the season sidelined by left elbow soreness. In between, he’s made three starts (1-0, 3.38 ERA), highlighted by seven shutout innings 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. The Cubs have only announced one starter, Drew Smyly, for their double header Monday against the Brewers. But Leiter could be a natural fit.
Cubs 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 the Cubs’ 5-1 win.
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. We’ve had good conversations with him about his timeline. I think he knows where things are and where things stand.
Cubs southpaw Justin Steel and right-hander Kyle Hendricks are scheduled to take the mound Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Suzuki out of lineup for second game
Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki played catch and was scheduled to hit in the batting cages before the game Saturday.
He’s been out of the lineup for two games with a sprained left ring finger. But Ross said if Suzuki felt good enough running through pregame tests to pinch hit that he’d be available off the bench.
“If not,” Ross added, “we’ll pivot to tomorrow and go from there.”
Martin to bereavement list
The Cubs placed reliever Chris Martin on the bereavement list shortly before the game Saturday. They did not make a corresponding roster move.
Heyward around clubhouse
Cubs 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.