Montgomery set to make start against Braves

Bryant begins his injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa

August 27th, 2018

CHICAGO -- Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery tuned up for his return from the disabled list by throwing a bullpen session on Monday. Montgomery, who has been sidelined since Aug. 14 with inflammation in his shoulder, is scheduled to start on Thursday in a makeup game against the Braves.

"I'll be ready to go," Montgomery said after throwing about 35 pitches.

He's hoping to continue the Cubs pitchers' recent string of success. The club's starters posted a 1.67 ERA in their previous 10 games entering Monday night's series opener against the Mets.

"Everybody's been really good," Montgomery said. "It was a good two weeks for me to give [my arm] a refresher. It's one of those things where it could've gone bad if I didn't address it. I didn't want something that could take two weeks to cost me the rest of the season. It was the right move. I could've maybe pitched through it if I had to. Lately, the staff has been doing really good."

Plus, he's looking forward to pitching in Atlanta. Montgomery hit his only career home run there on July 19, 2017, and he joked that SunTrust Park is his favorite stadium.

"I plan on hitting another one, but I think the guy they're starting throws 98 [mph]," Montgomery said of Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz.

Bryant starts rehab stint

, sidelined since July 24 with inflammation in his left shoulder, began his Minor League rehab assignment on Monday night with Triple-A Iowa, going 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout against Omaha. He also reached on an error and scored two runs. How long the third baseman needs will be depend on how he recovers.

"This is up to him and how he feels," manager Joe Maddon said on Monday. "I was satisfied with what I saw swinging the bat. I don't know how that will translate into performance in the game, but I liked what I saw. He just has to see velocity, movement, those kind of things.

"I also believe, not unlike what [] did a couple years ago, all of a sudden everything slows down and the ball gets bigger sometimes. The fact you've been out a lot, your adrenaline jumps. I've seen guys come back after periods of time like that and do well for a bit."

Bryant has adjusted his swing, and is using a two-handed grip in practice to avoid putting any strain on his shoulder when he finishes his swing. It's up to him as to whether he does that in a game.

"I saw a good swing, I saw power," Maddon said of Bryant's last session on Sunday at Wrigley Field. "I saw really good mechanics. I'm just concerned about stiffness, soreness, those kind of things and how he can cope with that. I'll take an 0-for-4 -- just get him back out there. If you get him going a bit, you know it will benefit you."

Worth noting

, on the DL since Aug. 20 with left hip tightness, gave up two runs on three hits and five walks over 4 1/3 innings for Iowa against Omaha on Monday night. He threw 77 pitches in his first rehab outing, striking out three.

However, shortstop isn't that close to returning. Russell (left middle finger sprain) has yet to begin baseball activities.

, sidelined with right biceps inflammation, played catch on Monday. There is no timetable for his return.

• The wind was blowing at 19 mph out of the south on Monday night and so strong that the grounds crew took down some of the flags. Maddon felt the impact of the wind during his bike ride.

"Coming back, I could barely get to 10 miles an hour -- that was difficult," Maddon said of his lakefront ride.

Does the wind change what he does with his bullpen? Maddon admitted he may go with a ground-ball pitcher over a fly-ball pitcher.

"This ballpark -- it can be the biggest ballpark in the world some days and some days it's the smallest," Maddon said. "You've just got to go play."

• Schwarber's second Neighborhood Heroes Block Party raised $282,000 for first responders. The event was held on Sunday night.