Injuries have been a nightmare for just about every team in baseball this season. The Chicago Cubs are certainly no exception. However, just one day after Nick Madrigal returned from the IL, the team made a number of roster moves. Some of the moves offer suspicion regarding how the losses will be handled.
After leaving his sensational start on Monday night, LHP Drew Smyly is officially on the 15-day IL. This move is certainly the most painful because Smyly has been one of the most consistent starters for Chicago this season. He joins fellow starter Wade Miley on the IL currently.
In addition, Manuel Rodriguez is also heading to the 60-day IL with a right elbow strain. Rodriguez got his first taste of big league action in 2021, but has yet to be seen at the MLB level in 2022. However, the Cubs are returning a healthy body in the form of Jason Heyward.
Although Heyward’s return may cause eyes to roll, his presence is valuable now that Seiya Suzuki is on the IL. Heyward can assume right field while the young sensation Christopher Morel continues to play a solid center field.
As a result of Heyward’s activation, Nelson Velazquez has been returned to Triple-A. The Cubs’ No. 16 prospect got his first taste of big league action in the Memorial Day doubleheader against the Brewers, picking up his first two hits. Although a short stint, it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of Velazquez in Chicago for 2022.
Finally, Michael Rucker was also activated from the IL. His activation is a major positive due to Smyly’s injury. After announcing the starting rotation for the upcoming Cardinals series, Rucker might get a look in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
What’s On Tap Next?
On Wednesday, the Cubs finish up their series with the Milwaukee Brewers. Starting Thursday, the Cubs welcome the Cardinals to town for five games in four days. This daunting stretch of the schedule could be a turning point for Chicago if they manage a record above .500 over the nine games. Currently, the Cubs are 1-2 during the stretch as of Wednesday.
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