Encouraging developments for Cubs on injury front with Stroman, Suzuki
As the Cubs continue to fight their way out of a recent slump, the team is feeling optimistic about the return of a pair of star players.
There is still no timeline on Marcus Stroman or Seiya Suzuki but both players have been progressing well lately with regards to their respective injuries.
Stroman played catch Friday for the second day in a row after landing on the IL last week with shoulder inflammation. The veteran right-hander last pitched on June 3 when he allowed 9 runs in 4 innings to the Cardinals.
He said he has been dealing with the shoulder issue since he returned from his previous stint on the IL in May due to COVID.
“I never recovered from that point after I came out,” Stroman said. “I think I went 5 innings in that first start after having  days off. My shoulder hasn’t recovered since. I think it was just a matter of being built up a little too quick.
“My shoulder feels back now playing catch to where it did pre-COVID.”
Neither Stroman nor the Cubs want to project when he might be able to return. Now that his shoulder feels good, the key is building up properly and ensuring the inflammation doesn’t come back.
In the short-term, Stroman will have a lighter day on Saturday and then hopes to throw off a mound in the next few days.
Stroman signed a 3-year, $71 million deal prior to the lockout and the Cubs hoped he would be able to form a dynamic duo with Kyle Hendricks atop the rotation.
It hasn’t quite worked out that way, as Stroman has spent two separate stints on the IL and has gone 2-5 with a 5.32 ERA in 9 starts.
“Having the short spring and then having COVID for  days where I was bedridden for 4 or 5 of those days, it’s tough,” he said. “It’s tough to get a flow. I truly feel like baseball and definitely pitching is more about finding a rhythm and routine than anything.
“As a pitcher, those years you find your routine and rhythm, you just kinda float through the year. And then when you get knocked off in certain years, it’s tough to find it. I’m someone who battles always. I don’t mind adversity. I love being in the gym, I love working on my body. I take it in stride and I’m doing everything I can to get back out there.”
As for Suzuki, he is still in the midst of a rest period. The team is waiting for the inflammation in his sprained left ring finger to calm down before he ramps back up.
However, Suzuki did take some dry swings Friday and continues to throw and work out.
“He’s feeling better daily,” Ross said. “If the pain and swelling get out of there, I think the process will move pretty quickly. But we want to make sure we give it the rest. I know he’s looking forward to getting back and we’re looking forward to getting him back.”
Every day when Suzuki sees his manager, he squeezes his hand together to let Ross know where his range of motion is.
“It’s getting there,” Ross said. “It’s been a little bit of a slow process but I know it’s felt better daily from the rest and seeing the hand specialist.”
Suzuki has been out since May 26, when he injured the finger on a slide in Cincinnati.