CHICAGO -- At the time Tyler Chatwood landed on the injured list with a right forearm injury earlier this month, the Cubs were not overly optimistic about the pitcher's chances of making an impact on the staff again this season. That has changed.
Prior to Thursday's game against the Reds, Chatwood played catch up to a distance of 105 feet at Wrigley Field, and a bullpen session could be coming within the next few days. The righty is actually now a day ahead of lefty José Quintana in their respective throwing programs.
"There were definitely concerns that we would even get him back this season," Cubs manager David Ross said of Chatwood. "Right now, we're definitely fortunate that he's where he's at.
"We still have a long way to go and a lot of caution behind where we're trying to get him to, but we're very, very thankful that we've got good news from the docs and the tests came out as good as they did."
Chatwood, 30, was placed on the 10-day IL with the arm issue on Sept. 1, and Quintana, 31, landed on the 10-day IL with a left lat injury on Sept. 2. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said the coming mound workouts will be a big test for each pitcher.
"We'll see how they develop with their throwing," Epstein said. "Obviously, they want a chance to get stretched out, but we certainly don't rule out contributions from both those guys in shorter roles before the end of the season. But, it's a day-to-day thing.
"They're at the point right now where any setback probably rules them out. But with good, consistent progress, you could certainly see them helping."
Flurry of moves
Prior to Thursday night's game against the Reds, the Cubs made the following transactions, bringing their 60-man pool to 59 players:
• Right-hander Adbert Alzolay was recalled from the South Bend (Ind.) alternate training site to start against Cincinnati. Righty Colin Rea was optioned to South Bend to clear a spot on the active roster.
• Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. cleared waivers and was granted his release. Right-hander Juan Gámez and outfielder Ryan LaMarre, who were both in South Bend, were also granted their release.
• Lefty Matt Dermody cleared waivers and was assigned outright to South Bend.
• Righty Joe Wieland was added to the 60-man player pool and assigned to South Bend.
• Infield prospect Pedro Martinez was traded to Rays as a player to be named in the deal that brought José Martínez to the Cubs on Aug. 31.
• With utility man Ildemaro Vargas now in the fold, combined with the presence of infielders Jason Kipnis and David Bote, Ross has been trying to find optimal moments to use rookie Nico Hoerner. Beyond occasional starts, that has included innings off the bench at second, short, third and in center field.
"Nico's role has been super utility for us," Ross said. "He's doing a good job of quality at-bats and coming in and filling in on defense. He's been that Swiss Army Knife-type player that I've used all over. He comes in with a great attitude. He's very professional."
• Lefty Andrew Chafin (10-day IL, sprained finger) threw an aggressive 25-pitch bullpen session on Thursday and everything went well, according to Ross and Epstein. It marks Chafin's second time off the mound this week.
"We're definitely more well-rounded to be able to make some moves and things that might come up over the course of a game, for sure. But, I had confidence in our group to do some of those things early on, too. We've added some more veteran pieces, some new pieces there, that definitely I think will pay off in the end." -- Ross, on additions made over the past two weeks to help Chicago's depth