Three of the Cubs’ regulars are healing as well as can be expected at this point, and should be returning to the team within the next month, if all goes well.
Matt Garza, who is recovering from a left lat strain, threw off the mound again on Sunday, the second time since Thursday. This time, he upped his pitch total from 25 to 35, according to Carrie Muskat, and is now expected to have at least two more bullpen sessions before heading out on a minor league rehab assignment. He’s not expected back until mid-May at the earliest, which sounds about right if he’s out for his first rehab start by, say, April 16, and makes four rehab starts (which are partly Spring Training for him).
The very-missed Darwin Barney is expected to have the stitches out of his knee later this week, before taking a game or two to rehab with a minor league team this weekend (Kane County is in Wisconsin this weekend, for what that’s worth). He’s been out since a March 30 exhibition game against the Astros, in which he sliced open his knee. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list on April 15 … which is an offday. So you can look for him to return to the lineup April 16 against the Rangers.
Ian Stewart got into a minor league extended Spring Training game in Arizona yesterday, batting and playing in the field, and went 0-6 with three strikeouts. The numbers don’t matter as much as his ability to run at full strength/speed as he recovers from a quad strain. As of last Friday, Carrie Muskat said Stewart was running at just 80 to 90 percent. Stewart could be getting close to a minor league rehab assignment, which would probably last two or three weeks. Fingers crossed, Stewart could be back by the beginning of May.
There aren’t any updates to report on minor leaguers convalescing, including Junior Lake (broken rib) and Albert Almora (hamate bone removal). Both are expected to be back on the field at some point next month.