John Lackey hasn’t gotten an MRI for his stiff right shoulder, manager Joe Maddon said before Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers, but the Cubs also didn’t have a definitive plan for one of their most valuable pitchers.
Less than 48 hours earlier at Wrigley Field, Maddon had pulled Lackey after watching him shake his right arm in the seventh inning of Sunday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Lackey had looked sharp to that point, giving up one unearned run before getting a no-decision in a 6-4 loss to his old team.
“We’ll know more soon,” Maddon said. “I’m hearing that he feels good. But we haven’t decided anything yet.”
Whether that means putting Lackey on the disabled list or pushing back his next start, the Cubs will have to take the long view and think about the “Big Boy Games” in October. Lackey, a two-time World Series champion, has lived up to his reputation in the first season of a two-year, $32 million contract, going 9-7 with a 3.41 ERA and accounting for 158-plus innings.
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The Cubs are also facing a decision with Game 1 starter Trevor Cahill, the 26th man activated for the day-night doubleheader.
“We’re going to go through today and then create the plan,” Maddon said. “We haven’t decided or determined anything yet. But we’re going to have to do something very quick.”