Marcus Stroman Could Return Next Week in Bullpen Role

Marcus Stroman hasn’t pitched since July 31 as a result of hip soreness and fractured rib cartilage, but he’s working his way back and even threw a live BP Friday in Arizona. He’s lined up for another session on Monday and could make his return to Chicago shortly thereafter. According to Michael Bolling, an on-air social media host for the Cubs, he could even be back by the end of next week.

But it probably won’t be as a member of the rotation, and not just because Stroman has a 9.00 ERA over his last seven starts. The fact of the matter is that, even if he’s indeed fully healthy, he’s had too much time off to get ramped back up. Bruce Levine laid it out on 670 The Score’s Inside the Clubhouse Saturday morning.

“It’s Marcus Stroman’s spot to try to find if and when he comes back,” Levine said. “The inside stuff on Stroman is he threw a 29-pitch simulated game yesterday, or two days ago. He’s gonna pitch again Monday, try to build up his pitch count. He comes back, he’s not a starting pitcher yet. He’s not gonna be a starting pitcher, there’s not enough time for him to build it up.

“He’s gonna go in the bullpen if he goes anywhere, okay. Do they have a spot for a starting pitcher who’s never been a reliever? …Never been a reliever and could go in there and maybe give you some long innings and wait four or five days again to give you long innings.”

This backs up what Bolling tweeted about the timeline for Stroman’s return, as going 35-40 pitches on Monday would put him in line to throw Friday or Saturday with decent rest. The only question is who the Cubs will remove from the staff to make room for Stroman, but that could be answered by an injury here in the next few days.

No matter what role he assumes, Stroman is going to have to be a helluva lot better than he was in July in order to help the Cubs down the stretch and into the postseason

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