The Cubs are looking at options with Tsuyoshi Wada’s status still up in the air.
The Cubs will continue to explore the trade market for a rotation upgrade, but the short-term issue is Wada’s sore left shoulder and who faces the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday at Busch Stadium.
“We’re not prepared yet to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the next start,” manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday at Wrigley Field. “We’re going to wait probably just a little while longer to evaluate all that. From what I was told, it was better, but we want to be very certain about that.”
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Wada – who’s been essentially pitching for his job – left Monday’s 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the top of the third inning because of cramping in his deltoid muscle.
The Cubs have two former All-Star starting pitchers in their bullpen – Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson – but could look to Triple-A Iowa for their backup plan.
Maddon doesn’t like the idea of removing Wood from the bullpen equation, believing he’s become too valuable as a left-handed reliever. Jackson isn’t really stretched out at this point and it’s a bit of a reach to expect him to throw four-plus innings.
The Cubs could go with Donn Roach, a 25-year-old right-hander who’s 7-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 14 starts with Iowa. The Cubs claimed Roach off waivers from the San Diego Padres last November.
“We’ve been talking about some different options,” Maddon said. “You look at the obvious kind of stuff – the guys that are here – but there are a couple different directions we can go if (Wada) is unavailable.”
It didn’t sound like Jacob Turner was on the radar anyway, but the Cubs said the 24-year-old right-hander – who’s on the 60-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation – had to shut down his rehab assignment at Double-A Tennessee because of an elbow issue.