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Craig Counsell provides updates on injured Cubs pitchers

1 month agoTony Andracki

The Cubs are stretched thin on the pitching side of things with 9 different members of the staff currently on the injured list.

The Cubs have received a mix bag of news on several of those pitchers working their way back.

Julian Merryweather, a linchpin of the bullpen, has resumed a throwing progression but he is just starting his road back after six weeks off with a rib stress fracture and he won’t return until mid-June at the earliest.

Jordan Wicks (forearm) threw a bullpen Tuesday and will head out on a rehab assignment in the coming days.

Drew Smyly (hip) made his first rehab outing with Advanced Class-A South Bend Tuesday, striking out 5 batters in 3 perfect innings.

“The day went very well for Drew,” Craig Counsell said. “He pitched great, felt good. Still determining next steps with Drew. I think we’re probably considering another outing but we’ll just kind of see how that goes.

“But expect him to be active at the latest by next week.”

Next week presents the biggest series of the season for the Cubs to date — a four-game set with the first-place Brewers in Milwaukee beginning on Monday. That would certainly be a good time for the pitching staff to receive reinforcements.

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Daniel Palencia (shoulder) has had a couple of rehab outings with Triple-A Iowa, but he has surrendered 4 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks in those outings over 1.1 innings.

“We’re just gonna keep going with Daniel a little bit here,” Counsell said. “He’s doing good health-wise but hasn’t pitched well the first 2 times out.”

As for Adbert Alzolay, he received a second opinion on his forearm strain.

“He went to the doctor,” Counsell said. “Kind of confirmed it’s gonna be a while. He’s shut down right now from throwing for probably two weeks minimum and then we’ll go from there.

“But it could be longer than that. That’s where we’re at right now and treat it conservatively and see where we’re at in two weeks.”

Alzolay spent two weeks on the IL last September with a forearm strain and Counsell confirmed this is a degree of the same injury.

The Cubs hope to avoid surgery for Alzolay but they did not rule it out and will assess his situation after the two-week shutdown period.

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