Although we’ve not yet heard the particulars on the MRI of Jon Lester’s tight hamstring, suffered running the bases on Monday, you can expect he’ll be headed to the Injured List, officially, later today.
Joe Maddon confirmed on 670 The Score that Lester is going to miss at least one start, which means it would be pretty silly not to send him to the 10-day Injured List and take advantage of getting another reliever up to bolster the bullpen. If, for example, Lester was going to miss his scheduled Sunday start no matter what, and if the rotation was otherwise going to stay in order, Lester would not be starting again until April 19 at the earliest … and that happens to be the same day he’d be eligible to come off of the Injured List.
The Chicago Tribune adds that a source suggests an IL placement would be the “conservative” route, which to me suggests that there is a sincere belief that we’re not talking about a legitimate hamstring “strain” here. Lester himself believed it felt more like cramping than a strain, for what that’s worth.
If you had to guess, Tyler Chatwood could take Lester’s start on Sunday, and although he’s not stretched out, might be able to give you three innings or so, depending on his efficiency. It’s certainly not ideal, but unless the Cubs add another starting pitcher to the 40-man roster, the only other starting options on the 40-man would be Duane Underwood Jr. or Justin Steele, as guys like Alec Mills and Adbert Alzolay are rehabbing injuries.
As for the bullpen call-up, the relievers at Iowa currently on the 40-man roster include Tim Collins, Dillon Maples, James Norwood, and Rowan Wick. Collins has big league success in the past, and might be the guy, though obviously Norwood saw time at the big league level last year. I’m not sure Maples or Wick are quite ready to come up and contribute (ditto Carl Edwards Jr.). All in all, I suspect it will be Collins, given his past experience and the opportunity for the Cubs to get him an early-season look.