MILWAUKEE — Regardless of what the Cubs do ahead of the trade deadline this week, their roster should get a big boost in the near future.
Cole Hamels threw another rehab outing with Triple-A Iowa Sunday afternoon, tossing two scoreless innings after allowing 3 runs in the first inning. He threw 59 pitches overall and could be in line to come off the injured list and start for the Cubs sometime over the next week.
The Cubs are currently rolling with a four-man rotation thanks to a flurry of off-days injected into their recent schedule and the current plan for St. Louis this week is as follows:
Tuesday — Yu Darvish
Wednesday — Kyle Hendricks
Thursday — Jon Lester
Thanks to another day off Monday, Jose Quintana (Sunday's starter) should be able to throw Friday on full rest as the Cubs welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to Wrigley Field to kick off the first homestand of August.
That means Hamels could get the call on Saturday, the next time the Cubs need a fifth starter. Or, he could also slot into Friday's game if the Cubs wanted to hold Quintana back an extra day for whatever reason.
Hamels, 35, is coming off his second oblique injury in the last few seasons. He last pitched June 28 in Cincinnati, going only an inning before needing to come out of the game with the side issue.
Prior to the month-long stint on the shelf, Hamels was arguably the Cubs' best starter, going 6-3 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 97 strikeouts in 99.2 innings.