(670 The Score) One of the biggest questions facing the Cubs down the stretch run and as the playoffs await revolves around how they’ll utilize right-hander Marcus Stroman if he gets healthy enough to pitch again.
Stroman has been sidelined since July 31, first by a hip injury before he was diagnosed with a rib cartilage fracture. Recently, Stroman has continued to make progress toward a return by throwing bullpen sessions and live batting practice at the Cubs’ complex in Arizona, and he’s eager to get back to game action, general manager Carter Hawkins said Thursday on the Bernstein & Holmes Show.
“He’s thrown several bullpens, several live BPs, and we need to make a decision on the best time to get him active for us,” Hawkins said. “He’s definitely champing at the bit to get there, and that’s a good thing. When a player is starting to say, ‘Hey, I’m ready, I’m ready to rock and roll,’ that usually means that they’re ready to compete. That will be the decision we have to make.”
Stroman, 32, has a 3.85 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 23 starts this season. He was dominant in the first half of the season but struggled in the weeks prior to landing on the injured list.
Stroman has expressed a willingness to fill any role the Cubs need when he returns, whether it be in the rotation or out of the bullpen, pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Wednesday. With that in mind, how many starts or outings would the Cubs need to see from Stroman to feel comfortable inserting him into a playoff setting?
“Not many,” Hawkins said. “He’s got a pretty strong track record. It’s really about if he’s physically in the place to be able to have the delivery and the stuff profile and the command profile that we’re accustomed to. But his foundation is pretty set. If he’s healthy and he’s able to repeat the way that he’s been able to repeat in the past, I think your confidence on that goes up pretty quickly. Our best team is one with Marcus Stroman on it, for sure. I think there’s a great shot that he can help us here in the next couple weeks and into October hopefully.”