CINCINNATI — Wade Miley’s son had a special request on Monday, with the family visiting Cincinnati for the Cubs’ four-game series against the veteran lefty’s former team. Jeb wanted Graeter’s Ice Cream for lunch.
“When we lived here, it’d be probably three or four days a week, nine o’clock at night, my wife or Jeb would be like, ‘Hey, let’s go to Graeter’s,'” Miley recalled. “And we’d take off.”
So, on Monday, they had ice cream for lunch.
Miley isn’t scheduled to pitch in the four-game series, but on Tuesday, Cincinnati plans to present him with the Reds Most Outstanding Pitcher award for 2021, voted on by the local BBWAA chapter. The Cubs claimed Miley off waivers from the Reds this winter, as Cincinnati plunged into a rebuild.
The Cubs (16-24) and Reds (12-28) entered play Monday as two of the bottom three teams in the division, along with the Pirates (16-24).
“I think [Reds general manager] Nick Krall knows what he’s doing,” Miley said. “I think he’s got a plan, and I wish them nothing but the best.”
The Reds roster looks much different than it did at the end of last season, but Miley still knows a few players on the other side of the field. He sprinted out of the dugout during afternoon batting practice to greet Mike Moustakas. And Joey Votto notably remained on the team through the offseason upheaval.
“During the COVID season, you spent a lot of time with your teammates because we were in a bubble,” Miley said. “So, we were hanging out together and didn’t have a choice. … So we got really close. We found ways to have fun and enjoy those times.”
Contreras out of lineup
Cubs manager David Ross said he was confident that catcher Willson Contreras will avoid the injured list after leaving Saturday’s game with a right hamstring strain. He was out of the starting lineup Monday and his status remained day-to-day.
“We’ll see how he is, get out, move around a little bit,” Ross said Monday afternoon. “We’ll give him a couple of days to rest up.”
Hoerner approaching return
Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner is “close” to returning from the 10-day IL (right ankle sprain), Ross said. Hoerner fielded ground balls and took batting practice before the game Monday.
“Hopefully in a few days, we’ll see,” Ross said
In other injury news…
Cubs second baseman Nick Madrigal is progressing toward a rehab stint, but Ross did not give a timeline for when it will begin, saying that the Cubs will continue to monitor him. Time in Triple-A could also help Madrigal get in a groove at the plate after starting the season with an uncharacteristically low .203 batting average.
Cubs outfielder Clint Frazier (appendicitis) is five games into his rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa, hitting .176 in 17 at-bats. Ross said didn’t have a sense for how many games Frazier will need before returning.
Cubs left-hander Sean Newcomb (left ankle sprain) is scheduled to start a Triple-A rehab stint Tuesday.