Cubs’ Matt Swarmer optioned, Daniel Norris activated; Kyle Hendricks has long road ahead

Cubs rookie Matt Swarmer is headed back to Triple-A, but this time with a bullpen role in focus.

“There’s growth there,” manager David Ross said of his impression of Swarmer. “He’s still very young in his career. And he’s got to evolve like everybody else, come up, learn how hard it is being able to land that slider for a strike consistently out of the bullpen.”

Optioning Swarmer to Triple-A after the Cubs’ 4-2 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday cleared space on the active roster for the Cubs to activate lefty reliever Daniel Norris (left index finger strain) off the 15-day injured list on Wednesday.

Swarmer, 28, climbed through the Cubs’ farm system as a starter, and he debuted in late May as a rotation fill-in. He had mixed results in five starts and then transitioned into a relief role.

“I was definitely surprised at first,” Swarmer told the Sun-Times a couple weeks ago. “But it’s just a game of adjustments. I’ve got to just get ready faster for these relief appearances.”

Swarmer mostly deploys a two-pitch mix, which is more common for relievers than starters at the major-league level. But his ability to manipulate his slider makes it behave almost like two different pitches.

“That’s his money pitch,” Ross said. “He’s got to be able to land that [in the strike zone] at will. And sometimes when you can’t do that, you’re going to get exposed, especially against teams that don’t chase outside of the zone.”

He’ll have the chance to develop that part of his game in Triple-A.

Hendricks will be a while

It will be “a little bit” before veteran right-hander Kyle Hendricks returns from the 15-day injured list, Ross said. He didn’t have an exact timeline but estimated that Hendricks (right shoulder strain) would need at least two to three weeks of rest and rehabilitation before he even started playing catch.

Hendricks is one of two veteran Cubs starters still on the mend as the All-Star break approaches. Lefty Wade Miley continues to progress in his throwing program – he was scheduled for light catch on Wednesday – after shutting it down in recent weeks.

Roberts undergoes Tommy John

Rookie right-hander Ethan Roberts underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas, the team announced.

“He’s such a good kid,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said last month, when the Cubs announced that Roberts was heading for surgery. “He’s going to come back from this great, and we still expect really big things from him in the future.”

Roberts claimed a spot on the Opening Day Roster, but in late April he landed on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder. On his road back from the injury, in his first rehab outing, Roberts tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

Madrigal slowed

Cubs second baseman Nick Madrigal (strained left groin), after leaving his last rehab outing with groin tightness, is set to remain in Chicago this week. He’ll use the time before the All-Star break to build up extra strength and volume, the team said.

“I think he caught it in time,” Ross said. “I don’t think there’s anything really pressing that he has to take a ton of time off [for].”

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.