Sure, Marcus Stroman was brutal in his last seven or so starts before he ended up on the injured list, but there’s no denying that if he can come back healthy later in September then he can strengthen the Cubs starting rotation. The latest is certainly an encouraging update on Stroman, who returned to throwing in Arizona on Monday.
Stroman reportedly threw 35 pitches in a bullpen side session at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz. Although the right-handed pitcher didn’t face any batters, the exercise proved to be a great first step in Stroman’s return.
Via The Cub Reporter.
“Looked to be throwing free & easy. About half a dozen Cubs coaches & staff were watching from near the mound, with cameras placed all around the mound and behind home plate. Lots of high fives and fist pumps after he finished.”
Stroman last pitched at the end of July, and was lit up by the Cincinnati Reds, allowing six runs on six hits in three innings. That capped off a stretch in which the veteran righty gave up 30 earned runs in 30 innings in a span of seven starts from June 25 through July 31.
The Cubs placed Stroman on the injured list because of inflammation in his right hip and at the time the team believed he would miss the minimal 15 days sidelined. Stroman did receive a cortisone shot for the injury, but then a few days before his scheduled return against the White Sox, the Cubs discovered a rib fracture inside the pitcher.
Stroman was shutdown and neither he nor the team had a timetable for his come back. However, seeing that he’s back on the mound after only a couple of weeks of rest is definitely a great sign for Stroman.
Again, maybe some Cubs fans are scoffing at the idea that Stroman can be good again because of his last impression, but that has to be because of recency bias. Stroman hasn’t just been good when healthy, he has been great.
Marcus Stroman Update
According to Michael Bolling, Marcus Stroman will be back with the Cubs on Sept. 15, next Friday, when the team begins a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road. As we know, Stroman has been in Arizona, working to ramp up for his return.
The second intriguing update is that according to Chicago baseball reporter Bruce Levine, when Stroman does come back to the team he’ll be used as a reliever.
The reason for that is because there just might not be enough time for Stroman to get fully stretched out to start this season after his long layoff. Stroman last pitched in a game on July 31.
Looks like Stroman has taken the next step in his rehab, now facing live hitters off the mound.
As many fans have pointed out, it’s possible that if Stroman does indeed return as soon as next week, then the Cubs might actually use him to start games as the “opener” and then getting him out after he reaches a certain pitch limit. That could definitely help when, for example, rookie Jordan Wicks is scheduled to start. You could go Stroman for two innings, then get Wicks in there for another five. That definitely shortens the game and gives the team and Stroman a clear plan on how to attack his appearances.
During his career, Stroman has six total relief outings, covering 10.1 innings. All of those appearances out of the bullpen came during Stroman’s rookie season in 2014 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cubs Activate Marcus Stroman off Injured List
Michael Bolling’s report from last week was made official on Friday, as the Chicago Cubs have activated Marcus Stroman off the injured list ahead of their three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Cubs optioned rookie reliever Daniel Palencia to Triple-A to make room for Stroman.
At this point, you’d think that Stroman is available to pitch out of the bullpen because otherwise the team would have waited until they wanted him to start a game.
In a recent interview on 670 The Score, Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said Stroman is ready to contribute in whatever capacity the team needs him to down the stretch and hopefully into the playoffs.
Via 670 The Score.
“We’re at the point of the year where I think a lot of guys have thrown their egos aside and want to help the team in any way they can,” Hottovy said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Wednesday morning. “They understand there’s a lot of different ways to do that. We’re still talking through, when Stro comes back, what the best option is going to be to utilize him. He’s been open and willing to say, ‘Hey, I’ll pitch out of the bullpen. I’ll start if you guys want me to. I’ll do both. I’ll work back.’ Those are all the things we’re trying to weigh here. How can we give guys rest? How can we put them in the right chance to be successful? How can we form a team and put a team out there every night that’s going to compete and try to win a ball game?”
As for Palencia, his rookie season has most likely come to an end unless he returns to fill in for an injured pitcher. Palencia, who began 2023 in Double-A, posted a 4.09 ERA in 21 appearances, striking out 22 batters in 22 innings.