Cubs’ Marcus Stroman makes smooth transition off IL in loss to Diamondbacks

Cubs managerDavid Rossbroke into a smile when he was asked about right-handerMarcus Stroman’sreturn Thursday.

”He was throwing well when he left,” Ross said. ”And, to be honest with you, the way his energy is around the clubhouse, he smiles, he’s got a good vibe about him and it just is nice to have him back walking around. And knowing he’s going to help us compete today is rewarding, for sure.”

In the Cubs’ 3-1 loss to the Diamondbacks, Stroman allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits in five innings in his first start in 2oe weeks. He was scheduled to pitch May 8, but the Cubs put him on the injured list with no designation, which generally means a COVID-related move.

Stroman played catch with relieverDavid Robertson, who was on the COVID-related IL at the same time, while they were building back for their returns.

”What I’ll look for is fatigue, just in the sharpness of the stuff, or we’ll look at the radar gun a little bit, velocity,” Ross said of monitoring Stroman’s first game back. ”And then I think it’d be natural to expect a little bit of rust, and usually that comes with command.”

For the amount of time he missed, however, Stroman didn’t look rusty.

To make room for him on the roster, the Cubs put relieverMichael Ruckeron the 15-day IL (retroactive to Tuesday) with turf toe on his left foot and transferred right-handerAlec Mills(back/quadriceps) from the 15-day IL to the 60-day IL.

Heuer checks in

RelieverCodi Heuerexpects a 15- to 16-month recovery from Tommy John surgery, which would put his return around June or July 2023. He had a full reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm in March and had an internal brace put in.

Heuer has been rehabbing in Houston but joined the Cubs in Chicago this week to check in with the medical staff. He’s scheduled to start a throwing program in September.

”It’s been a great reset for me,” Heuer said of spending the week with his team. ”I didn’t get to show up to spring training with the guys, so this has been awesome. I get to see a lot of familiar faces, a lot of unfamiliar faces, a lot of new guys in here, a lot of new staff.”

Howard to have surgery

Shortstop prospectEd Howardis set to have surgery on a hip injury suffered while trying to avoid a tag on the bases, president of baseball operationsJed Hoyer said.

”The early prognosis is really good as far as a comeback,” Hoyer said, ”but that’s going to be a comeback after a lot of rehab and a lot of time.’

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