This isn’t the next-level season Neil Ramirez envisioned out of the Cubs bullpen after such a dominating rookie year.
Ramirez went back on the disabled list on Wednesday with what the Cubs described as left abdominal soreness. The hard-throwing reliever had already missed more than two months while dealing with right shoulder inflammation.
“I don’t know,” Ramirez said more than once. “With everything I do to stay healthy and strong, it’s kind of baffling to me that it would be an oblique (issue). We’ll have to see.”
The Cubs made a flurry of roster moves before a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field, adding Ben Rowen and Yoervis Medina to the bullpen, sending right-hander Dallas Beeler to Triple-A Iowa and designating utility guy Mike Baxter for assignment.
Ramirez — who has been handled with care — insisted his arm is essentially back to full strength. But he felt something again while warming up during Tuesday’s game.
“Honestly, I was sitting in my house the other night and I sneezed,” Ramirez said. “It was kind of one of those violent sneezes that you’re not ready for and that’s when I first felt like that sharpness.”
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The Cubs have been actively looking for bullpen help, missing the presence Ramirez brought to late-game situations last season, putting up a 1.44 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 43-plus innings.
“It’s been a tough year — I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t,” Ramirez said. “I try to do the right things to stay healthy and it’s just kind of one of those things like: Why is this going on?
“I’m not going to say it’s the end of the world, but hopefully it’s just something quick (and) I’ll be back out there soon.”