Cubs closing in on return to full strength
David Ross has been buoyed by the Cubs recent success — but he’s also eager of the incoming reinforcements headed his way.
The Cubs announced Sunday that Seiya Suzuki is returning to the team and could be activated in time for Monday’s opener in Milwaukee. Couple that with rehab assignments for starters Marcus Stroman — he’s pitching Sunday in Iowa — and Drew Smyly — he’ll pitch Monday in South Bend — and there’s a sense of optimism for the Cubs.
“It’s exciting, right?” Ross said before Sunday’s matinee finale against the Red Sox. “We get those guys back, that’ll be nice, but we’ve also been playing really good baseball right now, so I don’t wanna take away anything from the guys who have played well the last week to 10 days.”
That wasn’t the only positive injury updates from the Cubs. Frank Schwindel participated in full baseball activities Sunday and hopes to go on a rehab assignment soon. He and Nick Madrigal will have a live batting practice session against lefty Daniel Norris (15-day IL, left index finger strain) on Tuesday in Milwaukee as they all near a return.
Schwindel said the back injury is comparable to the one he felt in spring training that kept him out for some time.
“Very similar,” Schwindel said. “So finally feel like I got it taken care of, just monitor it and go on a feel basis, but feeling good right now and excited to get back out there.”
The return of both Schwindel and Suzuki brings some pop back to the Cubs lineup. Over his last 30 games before he landed on the IL, Schwindel hit 6 home runs and was slugging .469. Suzuki is slugging .432 on the season.
But the Cubs have shown an ability to manufacture runs, like they did Saturday night, playing small ball to scrape together a win against the Red Sox.
“The guy yesterday, he’s a guy that put the ball on the ground pretty consistently, so, trying to make things happen, trying to put guys in scoring position, didn’t look like yesterday we were really gonna be able to slug him,” Ross said. “There’ll be sometimes where we might have the ability [when they] get Frank [Schwindel] back a little bit, get [Seiya] Suzuki back. Maybe a little more power there.”
For Suzuki, his return also will mean continued development. He’s only played 41 games in the majors and has had 163 plate appearances, meaning there’s still plenty for him to learn and adapt to.
“I think just he’s been missed,” Ross said. “A guy that needs to continue to get experience here. He was a big part of our success early on.”
Other Injury news:
- Alec Mills was placed on the 15-day IL with a low-back strain. Michael Rucker was recalled from Iowa to take his roster spot. Mills exited Saturday night’s game after 7 pitches.
- Jason Heyward continues to receive treatment — he was placed on the 10-day IL on June 27 with right knee inflammation.