Forgotten Cubs pitching prospect inching closer to Major League return

The Cubs' pitching staff is finally getting healthy.
San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs
San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

Help is on the way for the Chicago Cubs pitching staff but given their remaining schedule prior to the All-Star break, it may be too late.

Before starting their game against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday evening, the Cubs provided injury updates on several of their pitchers currently on the injured list.

In hindsight, Julian Merryweather's injury proved to be a much bigger deal for the Cubs' bullpen than may have been anticipated when he first went down with a rib injury in April. Merryweather was a high-leverage reliever for the Cubs last season, and given what has happened since with the destruction of the team's bullpen due to injury and ineffectiveness, his absence was certainly felt.

The Cubs are hoping that Javier Assad will be available this weekend as their series against the St. Louis Cardinals features a doubleheader on Saturday.

Caleb Kilian may get an extended showcase during the second half of the 2024 season.

Former Cubs pitching prospect Caleb Kilian has yet to appear in a game this season after suffering a stained teres major in Spring Training. The initial timeline had Kilian returning around the All-Star break, so it would seem that he is in line to return to the Major League roster once the Cubs resume play after the All-Star festivities next week.

Kilian has yet to find success at the Major League level, giving up 25 runs in 16.2 innings pitched but was impressive in his Spring Training outings this season. In recent bullpen sessions, Kilian's fastball topped out at 100 mph.

With the Cubs being sellers at the MLB Trade Deadline and the likelihood of pitchers such as Jameson Taillon, Tyson Miller, and Mark Leiter Jr. potentially being moved, there should be openings on the Cubs' pitching staff in the second half of the season for Kilian. Prior to the injury, Kilian was trending toward being a relief pitcher, but with newfound velocity, he could become a factor in a bullpen that is in desperate need of a spark.