Chatwood, Quintana return off injured list

August 25th, 2020

The Cubs gained a pair of veteran arms back in the fold on Tuesday in and . The question hovering over their return was how manager David Ross would utilize the starters.

On Monday, Ross detailed that Chatwood would rejoin the rotation for an outing against the Tigers on Tuesday, following his activation from the 10-day injured list (mid-back strain). Quintana (left thumb) will be activated on Tuesday as well, but he will move into the bullpen for the time being.

"I worked hard to be back as soon as possible," said Quintana, who cut the thumb of his pitching hand while washing dishes shortly before Summer Camp. "I know it took me a little time, but now I feel ready to do my job. And right now, whatever role I've got, I'm happy to be there."

In order to add Chatwood and Quintana to the active roster, the Cubs optioned righty Jason Adam and outfielder Ian Miller to the South Bend (Ind.) alternate training site.

Chatwood has not pitched since Aug. 6, when the right-hander gave up eight runs on 11 hits (two homers) in 2 1/3 innings in Kansas City. That came after a stellar two-start showing (19 strikeouts, four walks, one earned run in 12 2/3 innings) to begin the season as Chicago's No. 3 starter.

Chatwood threw a bullpen session on Saturday at Wrigley Field with no issues, but Quintana being available Tuesday can offer some multi-inning insurance if the right-hander can only log a few frames. Ross said the goal will be to utilize Quintana as a multi-inning reliever, keeping the lefty in the mix for future starts.

"The goal is, first, to get a look at him, and he's been stretched out," Ross said. "We've got some length in the 'pen with him down there. And then, just as he builds up ... we understand he's a starter option for us moving forward, if we need that."

Quintana has started 246 of his 250 career games in the Majors, topping 31 starts in each of the past seven years, with more than 200 innings four times. One of those four relief outings came on March 30 of last season, though. As a backup for Yu Darvish, Quintana struck out eight and gave up no earned runs in four frames.


"The adjustment is, be ready as soon as possible," said Quintana, who noted that he practiced relief situations in his last two sim games. "I've been in the bullpen a couple times. It's not new for me. I feel OK with that."

Rotation plans
With off-days coming up on both Thursday and next Monday, the Cubs have some flexibility with how they arrange their rotation after this series in Detroit. Part of the equation is a doubleheader on Saturday in Cincinnati.

"We've got some doubleheaders coming up," said Ross, whose club also has a Sept. 5 twin bill against St. Louis. "So we'll kind of navigate that, who's pitching well and just kind of take that as it goes."

Thanks to the Thursday off-day, the Cubs could choose between Kyle Hendricks (five days' rest) or Darvish (normal four days' rest) on Friday against the Reds. One of them would then be in line for one of the seven-inning doubleheader games Saturday.

For the second tilt in the doubleheader on Saturday, the Cubs could get creative. Alec Mills could start on normal rest (four days) or righty Adbert Alzolay could come up from the South Bend, Ind., alternate training site. Depending on Tuesday’s game, Chatwood or Quintana could start on short rest, too. The decision on that front would then influence who starts Sunday.

Worth noting
• The Trade Deadline is looming on Aug. 31, and the Cubs look to be in the market for help in the bullpen and a right-handed bench bat. Ross was asked Monday if he expects the front office to pull off a trade for the season's home stretch.

"I really don't know," Ross said. "There's so many factors that go into it from their standpoint and for our standpoint. It's just a really weird season. ... Making a trade on a guy that might just be off to a good couple-weeks start -- whether it's a bat or an arm or a defensive piece -- it's a lot of unknowns and uncertainty in that."

• Outfielder (10-day IL, right hamstring) was scheduled to get treatment on Monday in Chicago before heading to the team's South Bend site. Ross said Souza would continue his rehab there from Tuesday through Thursday.

"I was in the training room [Sunday] telling the guys, like, 'Man, I wonder what the narrative is in second place?' You know? First place, it's nice to be in first. I mean, we want to play better baseball, no doubt. There's a lot of places to improve, but I'd much rather be in first than in second, third or fourth." -- Ross