A little pre-game update on an important starting pitcher: Marcus Stroman has at least reached the stage where he’s ready to throw a bullpen.
Also, Adbert Alzolay must not be particularly close to any big new milestones in his progression:
Stroman, 31, last started on June 3, and has been resting some shoulder inflammation that traces back to his post-COVID ramp-up.
Hopefully his bullpen session tomorrow goes smoothly, and then he feels a normal next-day bounce-back. If so, you could see him do another bullpen a couple days later, or perhaps face hitters for some live BP. Only after that would you start to think about whether a rehab start is appropriate, so you’re still looking at probably sometime in July for Stroman’s return to the Cubs.
As for Alzolay, 27, he’s been out since spring training with what seems to have proven a pretty significant lat injury (the second of his career). I’d mentally ballparked him for a return in August (post-Trade Deadline, and also a bit more than the amount of time he missed the last time), so I don’t know that we can say he’s behind or ahead of schedule or anything like that. The Cubs are probably taking it very deliberately, knowing that they might be able to see him for only a couple months (probably in relief?) at the end of the season anyway.
I think you’d just like to know that Alzolay is throwing off the mound and facing batters by mid-July? It’s possible he already is and I missed it, but I’ve not heard of eyes on that just yet. So if it comes by mid-July, that would seem to give him enough time to ramp up to some minor league outings and then the big league bullpen sometime in August.