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Cubs pitching staff could get a boost soon

2 weeks agoTony Andracki

The Cubs rotation could get a jolt soon, though the starters have been off to a hot start this season.

Jameson Taillon threw a live BP session Tuesday in Arizona, facing hitters that include teammate Patrick Wisdom. Both players landed on the IL to start the year with back strains.

“All good,” manager Craig Counsell said Wednesday afternoon of reports coming out of Taillon’s live BP.

The next step is a rehab outing Sunday and the expectation is that will come with Double-A Tennessee, a decision that is “weather-related,” Counsell said.

The Cubs want Taillon to make multiple rehab outings before they call him up to the big leagues, so the earliest he would return to the Chicago rotation would likely be on the next homestand (April 18-25).

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The first time through the Cubs rotation, they have a 2.96 ERA, which ranks 6th in baseball entering play Wednesday.

Prior to last season, Cubs signed Taillon to a 4-year, $68 million deal. He struggled in the first half last year but found a groove over his final 16 outings (3.38 ERA).

For a Cubs rotation missing ace Justin Steele until at least May, Taillon would be a welcome addition.

Shota Imanaga had a stellar debut and Javier Assad was dominant his first time out. Kyle Hendricks and Jordan Wicks fill out the rotation but beyond that, the fifth spot is a question mark.

The Cubs opted for a bullpen day Wednesday, starting reliever Luke Little and rolling out Ben Brown after to provide length.

Drew Smyly and Brown are options to make starts in the next few weeks but a return from Taillon would help stabilize the pitching staff, especially if he can pick up where he left off last year.

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