Mike Montgomery to Return This Thursday Against the Braves

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Mike Montgomery to Return This Thursday Against the Braves

Chicago Cubs

Later today, Cole Hamels will square up against Jacob deGrom in the second of three games between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets at Wrigley Field. Tomorrow, the finale will feature Jason Vargas and fill-in Cubs starter Alec Mills, for his second big league start.

Mills, you’ll recall, was called up to replace, well, both Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery (sorta) in the rotation, while the former deals with an inability to throw strikes and the latter continues his return from left shoulder inflammation.

Montgomery’s last competitive pitch came in relief of Jon Lester and Jorge De La Rosa back on August 11th, but he’ll be back much quicker than I think we were expecting – i.e., before the calendar flips to September.

“I’ll be ready to go,” Montgomery said about starting this Thursday’s makeup contest against the Braves. “It was a good two weeks for me to give [my arm] a refresher. It’s one of those things where it could’ve gone bad if I didn’t address it. I didn’t want something that could take two weeks to cost me the rest of the season. It was the right move.”

Montgomery went onto explain that he probably could’ve pitched through the pain if he had to these past couple weeks, and that’s great, but given how good things have gone in the rotation lately (including Mills’ excellent first start), we’re glad he took some rest. In all likelihood, Mills will make his start tomorrow and then be replaced for a bit on the roster by Montgomery, who is, again, pitching *this* Thursday against the first-place Braves in Atlanta for a one-game stopover (yeesh, welcome back). Of course, if Mills continues to do well, he can be right back up in September* – displacing nobody, as rosters expand – possibly as part of a six-man rotation. Though that remains to be seen.

Of course, with Montgomery’s recent injury, the tough schedule of 23 games in 23 days, and the recent divisional cushion provided by a six-game winning streak, I think it would make some sense to extend the rotation for the rest of the season, keeping everybody as fresh as possible for an apparent postseason run.

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

*Players optioned to the minor leagues must stay down for at least 10 days before they return, except in the case of an injury. However, once the minor league season ends, the player can return, and Iowa’s season ends on September 3.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami