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Lester faces hitters in simulated game

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester threw 47 pitches over three innings in a simulated game Monday at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs will wait and see how the left-hander feels to determine whether he needs a Minor League rehab outing.

Lester, on the disabled list since Aug. 18 because of lat tightness and fatigue in his left shoulder, faced Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber in the three-inning "game," throwing 17 pitches in the first, then 12, then 18.

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CHICAGO -- Jon Lester threw 47 pitches over three innings in a simulated game Monday at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs will wait and see how the left-hander feels to determine whether he needs a Minor League rehab outing.

Lester, on the disabled list since Aug. 18 because of lat tightness and fatigue in his left shoulder, faced Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber in the three-inning "game," throwing 17 pitches in the first, then 12, then 18.

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What's next?

"A lot of it will depend on how he feels [Tuesday]," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "It looked like the ball was coming out well. He seemed happy with the results."

Hoyer watched the session along with the Cubs' athletic trainers.

"For me, as much as anything, it's that he's comfortable out there and he's letting it go," Hoyer said. "It looked like he had no restrictions and he's competing. You almost like to see in a sim game when a guy gets upset and doesn't execute a pitch -- that means he feels good enough to express that. I thought he was competing and letting it go."

Schwarber didn't enjoy the outing.

"He kept commenting on how tough it looks for a lefty," Hoyer said of Schwarber. "Now he knows what the rest of the league feels like."

• Shortstop Addison Russell, sidelined since Aug. 3 with a right foot strain, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa on Monday and went 1-for-3 with a double in his first at-bat in the first and a strikeout. Reliever Justin Grimm, out since Aug. 18 with a right index finger infection, struck out two and served up a solo home run to Tyler O'Neill in Memphis' 4-3 win over Iowa. Grimm pitched one inning.

Having Contreras take batting practice is encouraging, too. He's been out since Aug. 11 with a right hamstring strain, which was expected to take at least four weeks to heal.

"Getting these guys healthy, getting the energy back should be a positive step forward," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

• Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio was not with the team because his father passed away Sunday night. Bullpen coach Lester Strode was in the dugout Monday night as acting pitching coach.

• Some of the Cubs players had family affected by Hurricane Harvey, which pummeled Houston. Carl Edwards Jr. has been in contact with his friends and said they're doing well despite the flooding. Edwards posted on Twitter: "Dear Heavenly Father I'm asking you to put your safety shield around Houston and send your angels to protect them all #Praying4Houston."

Tweet from @CEdwardsSBS: Dear Heavenly Father I'm asking you to put your safety shield around Houston and send your angels to protect them all #Praying4Houston🙌🙏

Jake Arrieta, who lives in Austin, Texas, also has been in touch with friends there who are stranded because of the flooded highways. The families he knows are rationing food and even making homemade diapers to deal with the shortage of supplies.

"It's a little scary but everything's going to be OK -- they'll be all right," Arrieta said. "There are a lot of people out there who are much worse off."

Cubs pitcher John Lackey apparently had a friend who was using his boat on the highway to get people to safety.

"There's a lot of people doing good things to help others out," Arrieta said. "I know people don't want to evacuate and leave their homes and leave stuff behind but you have to look out for your lives. There's just nowhere for the water to go."

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.

Chicago Cubs, Willson Contreras, Justin Grimm, Jon Lester, Addison Russell