Cubs hoping a healthy Marcus Stroman can be a factor this summer
Injuries have ravaged the Chicago Cubs starting rotation from the word ‘go’ this season – and the team’s big-time offseason acquisition, Marcus Stroman, is no exception.
The right-hander missed a chunk of time with COVID and has been shelved since May 19 with shoulder inflammation that arose once he came back from the IL. Even when he was on the mound, though, the right-hander ran into a fair bit of trouble early in the year.
Stroman has made just nine starts, working to a 4.17 FIP and 5.32 ERA in 47 1/3 innings of work. Now, that quick glance at the numbers doesn’t tell the whole story. Twenty-one of his 31 earned runs on the year came in three of his nine outings. Obviously, you can’t just erase the bad starts and focus on the good, but it’s at least worth keeping in mind.
Regardless, the Cubs need Stroman back. The rotation has been in shambles all season long. Entering Sunday’s matinee against St. Louis, Chicago starters carried the fourth-worst ERA in the National League and fifth-worst in all of baseball.
Cubs: Marcus Stroman’s rehab is on track – but he’s not ready to return just yet
The good news? So far, his rehab is progressing nicely, putting him on track for a July return to the team. That could set him up for a nice second-half run that could position him to head into 2023 with some much-needed momentum. Here’s what MLB.com has to offer in their latest update on Stroman.
"Stroman logged around 40 pitches in a “normal bullpen” June 25, per pitching coach Tommy Hottovy. The right-hander tested his full repertoire. Hottovy said the next step could be facing live batters in the upcoming week, but the Cubs will monitor Stroman’s progress in the coming days to see if another bullpen session is the preferred route."
The veteran has allowed a lot of hard contact to this point in his Cubs tenure, but has limited walks and gotten swings outside the zone. If he’s going to help stabilize this shaky rotation, he’s going to have to dramatically cut down on the amount of balls barreled and get back to inducing more weak, groundball-focused contact.
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So, for now, we wait. Everything’s come up aces so far in Stroman’s rehab – hopefully that continues and we see him back on the bump before the All-Star Break in mid-July.