Their bullpen sessions must have gone well, because even after just one rehab start apiece, each of Drew Smyly and Marcus Stroman are going to start this weekend for the Cubs.
It’s a shame the two have missed so much time, but they are certainly coming back with enough time to check certain boxes:
The box for Stroman, of course, is just getting his season stabilized and leave you feeling confident that he can be a staple in the middle of the rotation for 2023.
The box for Smyly is much more near-term: you want to see him healthy for all of July, and at least as effective as he was earlier in the season. If he can do that, then the Cubs will have a nice trade piece on their hands come August 2. (I would say I’m sorry to be thinking of Smyly in those terms, but I suspect everyone who landed a one-year deal with the Cubs knew what they were potentially signing up for at midseason.)
A small part of the reason those two are both likely to start this weekend? Because the Cubs might be without Justin Steele:
Steele otherwise would’ve been lined up to start on Saturday in Los Angeles, but that seems pretty unlikely to happen. Let the guy take a few days with his wife and his new kiddo, and then he can join the team on Tuesday or Wednesday when they are hosting the Orioles.
Also? If Steele goes on the paternity list, the Cubs can use that slot to activate one of Stroman or Smyly without sending anyone else down yet, which buys you an extra day, at least, to decide who else is going to move out (and sometimes an injury happens in the interim, and it decides itself).