SAN FRANCISCO -- There was a point on Saturday afternoon when three of the Cubs' sidelined players were all doing pregame work in right field at Oracle Park.
"It is nice to see these guys here on the road with us," Cubs manager David Ross said, "checking in, seeing them pick up bats, move around, run, training, see them in the weight room. All those things are definitely encouraging."
Williams is working his way back from an emergency appendectomy. Duffy is coming back from a lower back strain. Like those two, Hoerner (left hamstring), Bote (left shoulder dislocation) and Steele (right hamstring) have uncertain timetables, too.
"I start to think about getting guys back when they head out for a rehab assignment," Ross said.
Marisnick (10-day IL, right hamstring) is the closest to activation -- a step that could happen in the coming days of this trip through San Francisco and San Diego. Ross noted, though, that Marisnick was still dealing with some soreness following two rehab games with Triple-A Iowa.
That explained why outfielder Jason Heyward (left hamstring) was activated from the 10-day IL prior to Saturday's game, while Marisnick remained shelved. Ross said Marisnick might also receive a day off on Sunday before possibly returning for the Padres series.
"We'll test him and run him pretty diligently today," Ross said Saturday. "The recovery process didn't go quite as smooth as Jason's, so we're going to give him one more day and then reassess tomorrow. I want to make sure these guys are 100 percent."
With Heyward back in the fold, Kris Bryant -- who has been rotating between all three outfield spots for the past six-plus weeks -- was back in center field. Once Marisnick comes back, Ross will again be tasked with finding the right outfield combination with Ian Happ and Joc Pederson also in the mix.
"We should be back to full strength at some point," Ross said. "But those dates and looking ahead ... we try to stay on the daily process, taking care of business that day and not get too far ahead."
Abbott reaches The Show
The promotion of pitching prospect Cory Abbott on Saturday served two purposes. First and foremost, the righty is a starter by trade and can offer length for a tired bullpen. Beyond that, it gives the Cubs a chance to look at another up-and-coming arm on the big league stage.
"Cory's a guy that's been around a little while and on the radar," Ross said. "I know he's been pitching well in Iowa for that group. I've heard nothing but good things about his performances of late. We're in a situation where we've used a lot of bullpen guys lately."
Abbott was called on to begin the sixth during the Cubs' 4-3 loss to the Giants on Saturday and turned in two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk with his first career strikeout.
"He looked really good first time on a big league mound in a big stadium and a pretty intense crowd," Ross said. "I thought he did a nice job navigating. Threw strikes. The slider looked good. He made some real good pitches in the zone. Got some swing and miss. I thought it was a nice first outing for him."
Báez finding 'rhythm' in field
Shortstop Javier Báez made a throwing error on Friday night and bobbled a grounder that led to an infield single on Thursday against the Giants. Entering Saturday, he had the second-most errors (13) among MLB shortstops, along with -1 Defensive Runs Saved.
"You get in a rhythm as a player, at times, and out of rhythm," said Ross, who reminded that Báez has dealt with some minor health setbacks this year. "I know he wants to be better. I think it's just about getting back in the rhythm of feeling good and that comfortable defense."
"I definitely think he feels real comfy competing in this environment. He's done that a lot in his career. ... I just like the vibe he brings to us. He definitely feels comfortable here, but he's been swinging the bat pretty darn good." -- Ross, on Pederson, who homered on Thursday and Friday in San Francisco