Cubs, Marcus Stroman won’t rush return from IL after last experience

Cubs, Marcus Stroman won’t rush return from IL again originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Cubs starter Marcus Stroman said his shoulder hasn’t felt right since ramping up “a little too quick” after his bout with COVID-19 last month.

Consequently, the Cubs’ top free agent pitching acquisition looks like he’ll be sidelined until sometime around the All-Star break.

“I feel good. I’m definitely making a couple strides in the right direction, ”Stroman said Friday after a second day of light catch since going on the injured list a week ago in New York.

“That pain that was there playing catch has kind of gone away. So it’s just a matter of staying on the routine and building back up properly and hopefully be back out there soon, ”he said.

He and the team will make sure there’s no rushing that process, especially after the first time.

Stroman, who missed almost three weeks after his May 1 start because of the COVID bout, said the shoulder issue cropped up almost as soon as he returned.

“I went five innings that first start after having 19 days off. My shoulder hasn’t recovered since, ”he said. “But my shoulder feels back now playing catch to where it did pre-COVID. I’m looking to build it from here and take it into my next start. “

How long that might be the bigger question. Stroman has barely begun playing catch and said he hopes to do his first bullpen work in the coming days.

“Now that it feels good, it’s just a matter of managing it,” he said. “I can’t go too quick because then I don’t want to introduce that inflammation back in.”

Stroman said the process hasn’t gotten far enough yet that he’s had any discussions about whether he’ll need a minor-league rehab assignment as part of his buildup.

But he’s pitched only four innings in the last 19 days and only 21 since that May 1 start prior to his COVID absence.

If that timeline starts to bleed a week or more into July, it could push his return to the other side of the July 19 All-Star Game.

For now, Stroman said he’s just looking forward to each next step and not dwelling on time lost or the ups and downs of a season that has his ERA sitting at 5.32.

“It’s a tough man,” he said. “Having the short spring, and then having that COVID for 19 days, where I was bedridden for four or five of those days, it’s tough. It’s tough to get a flow. I truly feel that in baseball, and definitely pitching, it’s more about finding a rhythm and routine than anything. …

“I’m someone who battles always,” he said. “I don’t mind adversity. I love being in the gym. I love working on my body. So I take it in stride, and I’m doing everything I can to get back out there. ”

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