NEW YORK -- The Cubs have finalized their six-man rotation plan prior to the All-Star break, and they will have Adam Warren start on Wednesday in the series finale against the Reds. The addition of Warren gives the rest of the Cubs' rotation a one-day breather.Warren made two starts at
NEW YORK -- The Cubs have finalized their six-man rotation plan prior to the All-Star break, and they will have Adam Warren start on Wednesday in the series finale against the Reds. The addition of Warren gives the rest of the Cubs' rotation a one-day breather.
Warren made two starts at Triple-A Iowa to get stretched out, and he went five innings on Thursday. He gave up two runs on three hits in that outing, striking out three. Cubs manager Joe Maddon was not sure if Warren would make a start the week after the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, which will be played July 12.
For the Cubs' upcoming series against the Reds at Wrigley Field, Kyle Hendricks will start Monday, John Lackey on Tuesday and Warren on Wednesday. Jason Hammel will go Thursday in the makeup game against the Braves, and then Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Lackey will face the Pirates in the last series before the break next weekend.
Whether Arrieta and Lester pitch in the All-Star Game won't affect the schedule. Hendricks is projected to start the first game after the break on July 15 against the Rangers.
• Maddon said if the Cubs can get Dexter Fowler back for the series against the Pirates next weekend, he's all for it. Fowler is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday. He's been sidelined with a strained right hamstring.
"I'm not hearing anything good, nothing bad, it's been kind of a neutral report," Maddon said of Fowler, who was rehabbing in Chicago. "He's doing better but he's not ready -- that's what I keep hearing."
The Cubs are 4-8 since Fowler went on the DL.
"He and [Ben] Zobrist were the two big factors in the strong start to get us out of the chute well to get us in the position we're in," Maddon said. "It was a combination of Dexter [leading off] and Zobrist hitting behind [Anthony] Rizzo that really mattered a lot."
Maddon said he's hoping the Cubs can "hold serve" until Fowler returns.
"[Fowler] is getting a rest now that will make him stronger in the second half," Maddon said. "It's a rest we didn't want to be as extended as it is, but I think it'll help us."
• Infielder Tommy La Stella was not expected to rejoin the Cubs until Monday at the earliest. He has been rehabbing at Triple-A Iowa after being sidelined with a right hamstring strain.
• The Cubs have been impressed with rookie catcher Willson Contreras, and as far as he's concerned, he's staying with the big league team.
"I don't even think about going back to Triple-A," Contreras said on Saturday. "I think about doing something to get better every day."
Contreras said he's feeling more in sync with the pitchers. When he first caught Kyle Hendricks in a game, it was the first time the catcher worked with the right-hander. They were never matched up in Spring Training.
"I feel way more comfortable," Contreras said. "I did a good job with Kyle Hendricks in Cincinnati. Everything is easy when you have a pitcher who can command everything and he knows what he's doing."
• Maddon has his All-Star break all set. He and his wife, Jaye, go to a place in Florida that he says is "kind of our lucky spot." Then, it'll be back to work for an Interleague series against the Rangers. The Cubs will have a workout before opening the second half on July 15 at Wrigley Field.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.