The Cubs have placed Jon Lester on the DL with “general shoulder fatigue” and have recalled lefty Rob Zastryzny from AAA Iowa to fill the vacated roster spot. But things aren’t nearly as bad as a certain local paper known for it’s negative slant on Cubs news had initially made them seem.
Lester’s issue is officially being called “general shoulder fatigue” and there are no structural issues. According to multiple accounts, he shouldn’t require much more than the minimum DL stint. If that’s the case, it could mean that he’ll only miss one start, which would have come against the Reds this coming Wednesday. The lefty’s next probable start after that would be August 28 to open the Pirates series.
Zastryzny gained measure of fame last season when he became the first pitcher drafted by the current front office to reach the majors with the Cubs. The 25-year-old lefty has battled injury and inconsistency this season, but was looking better in a starting role since returning in mid-July. In his last three starts (13.2 IP), however, he’s given up 11 earned runs.
On the bright side, he only walked two men and didn’t give up a home run in those starts. I know that might sound weird, but I’d be much more worried if he’d been wild and prone to giving up dingers.
Zastryzny last started on August 13, so he could jump into the rotation for that start against the Reds, if not earlier. Or Mike Montgomery could take that start and Rob Z could function as a middle reliever in the meantime. In all likelihood, they could also kind of piggyback that start if Lester is indeed going to be back soon and there’s no need to keep Monty stretched out.
Though many had assumed that Justin Grimm would be optioned to Iowa following another poor outing, he was placed on the DL with an infection in his right index finger. Color me conspiratorial, but that sounds to me like a way to clear a spot on the 25-man while keeping Grimm from mucking up the rhythm of the bullpen at Iowa. Perhaps I’m being too pessimistic, I just don’t think the Cubs see a very bright future for the hard-throwing righty at this point.
Taking Grimm’s place will be Felix Pena, who has yo-yo’ed back and forth from Iowa a few times this season. It’s a safe move, fully expected, though I’d really like to see what Dillon Maples can do at the big league level. He may well get that chance in September, a move that would require the Cubs to clear a spot on the 40-man. That could be Grimm or one of several other pitchers still lingering in the minors.
Overall, this is pretty much a best-case scenario all the way around. And it could afford Zastryzny the opportunity to face off against a team from his Canadian homeland. Good luck, Rob. Oh, and if you wouldn’t mind, could you tell the folks out there about your favorite Cubs blog?
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) February 13, 2017