Chicago Cubs lefty Drew Smyly, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery last year, has worked his way up to a simulated game, which he pitched at Wrigley Field before today’s game against the Cardinals.
Drew Smyly facing live hitters in a sim game. Said he will throw again Thursday and hopes to go on a rehab assignment after that. Current plan is for him to head out before Aug. 1.
Could be a key factor in Cubs bullpen down the stretch. Said he feels great right now. pic.twitter.com/ahph19AUbz
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) July 22, 2018
Drew Smyly is pitching! pic.twitter.com/Mx4fCHZ06f
— Danny Rockett (@SonRanto) July 22, 2018
The Cubs signed Smyly this offseason to a two-year deal, mostly for 2019, knowing that anything he provided this season would (1) likely be out of the bullpen, and (2) a bonus. Prior to Tommy John surgery last year, Smyly, now 29, had been showing signs with the Rays (and now-Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey) that he could be a mid-rotation starter type.
Rehab assignments coming back from Tommy John surgery are usually quite a bit more deliberate than when working back from an in-season injury, so it wouldn’t at all be a surprise to me to see Smyly use the full month working his way back up through the minors and getting back to game speed. Keep in mind, rosters expand to the full 40-man on September 1, so without a well-timed injury before then, it makes the most logistical sense that the Cubs would target September for Smyly to join the bullpen.