The Cubs hope to reach some sense of normal roster strength Friday, when they open a three-game series in Detroit.
According to manager David Ross, infielder Nico Hoerner and starter Jake Arrieta are set to come off the 10-day injured list for Friday’s series opener against the Tigers.
Hoerner (left forearm strain) and Arrieta (cut on right thumb) hit the 10-day IL last Tuesday — Hoerner's ailment stemming from a scary collision with Ian Happ on May 2. The 23-year-old took ground balls and ran the bases Tuesday and was scheduled to hit on the field prior to Wednesday’s game, Ross said.
“Everything seems to be progressing well for Nico,” the Cubs manager added.
The cut on Arrieta's thumb affected his last start, April 30 in Cincinnati. But after hitting the the IL, he said he only expected to miss one start and return for the Tigers series opener.
Arrieta threw a bullpen session last Saturday that “went well,” per Ross, and threw another pregame Wednesday.
“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but the plan is for him to start Friday,” Ross said Wednesday of Arrieta. “That is the plan if everything goes well.”
Happ hit the IL last Friday with rib bruising stemming from the collision. While he’s behind Hoerner in his recovery, Ross said, he’s progressing. The outfielder hit on the field Tuesday.
“Each day, Happer improves pretty significantly,” Ross added. “The more he's able to do when he's just not 100 percent, the better, just to stay active.”
Hoerner’s return will provided a needed boost to the Cubs’ short-handed position player group. Jake Marisnick hit the IL Tuesday with a right hamstring strain. Javy Báez (back tightness) returned to the starting lineup Wednesday for the first time since Saturday.
Kris Bryant is sitting Wednesday while under the weather.