Keegan Thompson has struggled in the Cubs starting rotation, but a brief stint on the injured list could offer him a chance to reset and get on track.
Thompson went on the 10-day IL Saturday with right shoulder inflammation. It crept up after his start Thursday against the Pirates, pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said Sunday.
“It’s just basically him not recovering [between starts] the way we want to right now,” Hottovy said.
“With the off days we have and the ability to kind of skip him for a start, I think it's important to hit the reset button and not go down a downward spiral that is tough to get out of down the stretch.”
Thompson has struggled with efficiency since joining the starting rotation in August, especially in his last two outings. Thursday, he threw 54 pitches before manager David Ross went to the bullpen with two outs in the second inning.
He threw 62 pitches in two-plus innings against the White Sox last week while being charged with five runs.
The Cubs have identified things off with Thompson’s mechanics — compared to earlier this season when he was having success pitching out of the bullpen — that are affecting his command and putting stress on his shoulder.
“Anytime something's off a little bit mechanically, you tend to use your arm or your shoulder a little bit more than probably you should be,” Hottovy said.
The Cubs want to get Thompson at a place where he's getting both the recovery he needs and the necessary work in between starts.
“One important part of this process for him as a starter is being able to work on the things we need to work on in between outings to get progress,” Hottovy said.
“If you’re not 100 percent, if you're not quite feeling great and the way you should, we end up cutting the volume down. You end up cutting the workload down just to be ready for the start."
Hottovy said Thompson is "feeling pretty good" and he doesn’t foresee the right-hander missing too much time. The Cubs have two off days in a five-day span next week, so they can rearrange the rotation where he could only miss one start.
In the meantime, Thompson has a chance to get the shoulder right, recover, and work on things mechanically.
“I think he's going to be in a much better place when he comes back,” Hottovy said.