Some injury notes on which to update you from the road as I make my way to Chicago …
As Michael wrote earlier, the news on Cubs starter Jon Lester is about as good as you could hope, with no lat strain. Instead, it’s just that lat tightness and general shoulder fatigue. It sounds like the hope is that Lester will be on the DL for his 10-day stint, miss a start in the interim, and then maybe be able to come back the start after that, or maybe the next. If that affords him a little extra rest, then it’s not the worst thing in the world anyway.
#Cubs Theo on Lester: We think it's just a start or two and Mike Montgomery is more than capable of filling in"
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 18, 2017
Theo says Lester had been feeling it for a bit and needed break. "Only a start or two." pic.twitter.com/eb1pW63muS
— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) August 18, 2017
According to Theo, "from Jon's mouth" this is less serious than when missed 3 weeks w lat strain in '11. Theo repeatedly called it "fatigue"
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 18, 2017
So, then, Mike Montgomery gets another fill-in shot in the rotation, which is perfect, given that he threw 4.1 innings on Lester’s day yesterday anyway. If Montgomery has one of his typically solid outings, then the Cubs may not lose a lot with this injury in the rotation.
They will lose Montgomery in the bullpen, though, so hopefully Felix Pena and Rob Zastryzny are feeling ready to go.
Elsewhere on the injury front, as you were probably starting to suspect already, Addison Russell will not make it back by the end of this homestand on Sunday (Grote). He has been out since early August with a muscular/plantar fasciitis issue in his foot. Hopefully he can come back soon.
Carrie Muskat says that Willson Contreras was able to play catch for the first time, so his hamstring recovery is coming along. It’s still not anyone’s expectation that Contreras will be back before some time well into September, though.
Lastly, Koji Uehara will throw a bullpen session today (Muskat). The 42-year-old reliever has been out with a neck issue, and it’s not clear if he’ll return soon and bump someone from the bullpen, or if the Cubs will simply wait until rosters expand in September. A healthy and effective Uehara would be a welcomed sight in a bullpen struggling to simply keep the ball in the strike zone.