As Wade Miley nears return, Cubs hope he can provide boost to rotation
Wade Miley was back in the Cubs clubhouse Saturday morning after making a rehab start Thursday in Iowa, but he was quick to knock down the idea that a return is imminent.
“I’m gonna throw a bullpen tomorrow and see how I feel and go from there before I jump into any conclusions,” Miley said.
The important thing for Miley — outside of his 4 shutout innings and 3 strikeouts — was how his elbow felt after the Triple-A game.
“I feel like I’m healthy,” Miley said. “That kind of proved it the other day to go out and turn up the intensity in a game situation and get out of it feeling good. That was my goal and that was what we did.”
He was focused not so much on pitch count, but the “up-downs” — how he felt after an inning and going back out to pitch again. He did those 5 times — after his fourth inning of work, Miley went back into the bullpen and threw 15 pitches there.
“That’s what I’m chasing,” Miley said of the up-downs.
He’s hoping that’s what gets him back with the big-league club and helping his teammates.
“I wanna be out there,” Miley said. “But that’s the hard part about when you’re dealing with an injury, about staying smart and trusting the process. You rush back, come out for one or two and you’re right back on the shelf, it’s no good for anybody.
“So, we’re trying to get this thing right and then go from there.”
When he is back, the Cubs hope his veteran experience can provide a boon to a starting rotation that manager David Ross said “hasn’t pitched to [its] potential quite yet.”
After all, Miley had a strong 2021 season with the Reds where he pitched to a 3.37 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and had an ERA+ of 140 — 40 percentage points above league average. The Cubs have just 4 starters on the roster — Marcus Stroman, Kyle Hendricks, Justin Steele and Drew Smyly, who was activated off the bereavement list as the 27th man for the Cubs’ doubleheader on Saturday.
“We picked him up in hopes of getting who he’s been,” Ross said. “Definitely a stabilizing force in the rotation along with some of those other veterans we have and bringing along some of these young guys.”
– Andrelton Simmons joined Triple-A Iowa Saturday afternoon for a rehab assignment. He was playing shortstop and hitting second. The Cubs plan for him to DH on Sunday, the Iowa Cubs are off on Monday and then the team will reevaluate from there.
– Alec Mills will throw off a mound in the next few days before being reassessed. He initially landed on the IL with a lower back strain but experienced a quad issue as he was rehabbing.