The MRI on right-hander Tyler Chatwood’s right elbow produced “largely good news,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday. But he still expects Chatwood will head to the injured list with a flexor pronator strain.
The Cubs hadn’t officially placed Chatwood to the IL as of Monday evening, and Hoyer said he was still waiting on a more detailed report from the Cubs medical staff.
“We’re certainly hopeful that he’s back this year,” Hoyer said.
On Sunday, Chatwood left the field in the third inning of the Cubs’ 10-1 win at Cincinnati. Cubs manager David Ross said Chatwood told him he had “felt a little something” on a breaking ball he threw to Joey Votto.
The next pitch, Chatwood spiked a changeup in front of the plate and immediately signaled for a trainer. He exited with what the team called “right elbow discomfort.”
For pitchers especially, elbow injuries can be volatile. Chatwood has undergone Tommy John surgery twice. The second, he had just four starts into his 2014 season, and his next major league appearance wasn’t until 2016.
A flexor pronator strain, on the other hand, generally requires a shorter recovery time.
Left-hander José Quintana would be the obvious choice to replace Chatwood in the starting rotation. Quintana has made two relief appearances since returning from a left thumb injury.
Most recently, he took the mound Sunday at Cincinnati in the fourth inning. Quintana allowed one solo home run in three innings but gave up no other runs and just one other hit. He struck out six.
Even before Chatwood’s injury, Hoyer said, the Cubs front office didn’t consider Quintana an answer to their bullpen’s lack of left-handed pitching.
“Q’s a starting pitcher and a very good one,” Hoyer said.
Plus, the Cubs had one double header at Cincinnati on Saturday and another scheduled against the Cardinals next Saturday, requiring extra starting pitchers.
Adbert Alzolay, who the Cubs have recalled from the South Bend twice, and swingman Colin Rea have each made one spot start this season and remain available to do so again.