Cubs’ Stroman solid in return from ‘tough’ COVID absence originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Cubs starter Marcus Stroman returned to the mound Thursday for the first time in nearly three weeks after a bout with COVID-19.
And given what the last few weeks have been like for him, Stroman was pleased with his performance vs. the Diamondbacks.
Stroman’s last outing was May 1 against the Brewers, when he threw seven shutout innings to beat reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes.
He was scratched from his scheduled May 8 start and went on the injured list that same day. Stroman said he and his family dealt with COVID, and he battled fatigue.
“It was tough,” Stroman said. “Just really, really tired, like couldn't move. Pretty much was just in bed. Didn't have any energy to do anything.
“I just listened to my body, took the days I needed. The second I felt good, got it ramped right back up and started preparing to be back out there.”
In his return Thursday, Stroman held Arizona to three runs (two earned) on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six with zero walks.
“I competed pretty well, and I was in the zone,” Stroman said. “I've had layoffs like that before in the past, and I've been kind of all over the place.
“Just to be around the zone and give my team a chance, I think it's something good to build off of.”
Stroman retired the first nine batters he faced before allowing a home run to open the fourth. Arizona scored all three of its runs that inning in a 3-1 win over the Cubs.
“I thought he looked pretty good, actually,” manager David Ross said. “He moved the ball in and out. Had that one bad inning, a couple balls out of our reach.
“The home run was well hit, but I thought he pitched well enough to win today.”
Stroman said he felt “a lot better” physically than he anticipated he would Thursday. He threw a bullpen Tuesday after being cleared but only threw one during his absence, using a bucket of balls and a net.
He also focused on dry work during his time away to keep his mechanics in sync, and threw a bit with David Robertson, who also was on the injured list with COVID in recent weeks.
“We were kind of going through it together,” Stroman said. “It's not easy to take that much time off and go and get big league hitters out.
“Definitely thankful to have him and our little throwing sessions that we had, our bullpens that we had together. We talked about pitching and I feel like that helped a lot to be honest with you, rather than being alone during that process.”