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Cubs activate Duensing, option Hancock

MLB.com @alysonfooter

CINCINNATI -- Prior to Friday's game, the Cubs activated left-handed reliever Brian Duensing from the bereavement list and optioned right-hander Justin Hancock to Triple-A Iowa.

Duensing was placed on the bereavement list on Monday due to the passing of his grandfather. His flight from Chicago to Cincinnati landed a couple of hours before first pitch on Friday, at which time the Cubs made the official roster move.

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CINCINNATI -- Prior to Friday's game, the Cubs activated left-handed reliever Brian Duensing from the bereavement list and optioned right-hander Justin Hancock to Triple-A Iowa.

Duensing was placed on the bereavement list on Monday due to the passing of his grandfather. His flight from Chicago to Cincinnati landed a couple of hours before first pitch on Friday, at which time the Cubs made the official roster move.

View Full Game Coverage

Manager Joe Maddon said he opted to keep lefty reliever Rob Zastryzny over Hancock mainly because he is looking for length out of the bullpen. The Cubs still had not named a starter for Saturday, and keeping Zastryzny, a former starter who can serve as a long reliever, protected them against the chance that Friday's contest would require extra work from the 'pen, either because of a short outing by the starter or an extra-inning game.

Video: LAD@CHC: Zastryzny leaves the bases loaded in 10th

Hancock, who was recalled on Tuesday in advance of the Cubs' doubleheader with the Dodgers, has made eight straight scoreless appearances over two separate stints with the Cubs, totaling 10 1/3 innings.

"When you send a guy back like that, he has to know he didn't do anything wrong," Maddon said. "It's just a matter of need and your skills, what you do compared to somebody else, and you have to make a decision. That's all that was."

Yu throws bullpen; Edwards, Morrow improving
After throwing a bullpen session on Friday, right-hander Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis) is still on track to begin a Minor League rehab assignment next week, possibly as early as Monday.

"If tomorrow he comes in and feels great, we'll let you know," Maddon said.

Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. (right shoulder inflammation) isn't quite as close to a return, but he threw on flat ground Friday and should be able graduate to throwing off the mound on Sunday.

Closer Brandon Morrow, who recently went on the disabled list with lower back tightness, played a light game of catch on Friday with no issues.

"I'm throwing just to keep my arm going, not necessarily to test my back," Morrow said.

Chatwood on call
Tyler Chatwood, a pending proud papa, will likely start Sunday's finale in Cincinnati -- unless his wife goes into labor between now and then, in which case he'll be high-tailing it back to Chicago for the birth of their first child.

If he does have to leave the team, Mike Montgomery will likely start instead on Sunday.

"If Chatwood can pitch Sunday, he can stay closer to home, and he doesn't have to go to L.A.," Maddon said. "That's best for him and his family. That's Plan A. We have Plan B and C, too."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Chicago Cubs, Yu Darvish, Brian Duensing, Carl Edwards Jr., Brandon Morrow