Cubs starter Marcus Stroman, who has been sidelined for more than a week on the COVID-19-related injured list, was cleared to resume team activities Tuesday and is expected to return to the rotation during the weekend home series against the Diamondbacks.
Stroman, who last pitched May 1, threw a bullpen session Tuesday for pitching coach Tommy Hottovy.
“We’ll see how he presents [Wednesday],” said manager David Ross, adding that barring any setbacks or lingering issues Stroman could be activate to start during the rotation’s next turn.
The next natural opening in the rotation is Sunday, but Ross also could slot Stroman earlier in the series to give an extra day’s rest to rotation mates.
It will put the Cubs rotation at full strength for the first time this season, with Wade Miley having returned from an elbow injury last week.
The news came one day after Ross said he wasn’t sure whether Stroman might need a minor-league rehab start, depending on how long it would take to clear the right-hander for activity.
Stroman, who signed a three-year, $71 million free agent deal over the winter, pitched seven scoreless innings to beat the Brewers and 2021 Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes in his last start.
The Stroman news also coincided with one more Cub going on the COVID-related list, outfielder Jason Heyward added Tuesday after two days of dehydration and body aches.
“He had some real stuff, some body aches and stuff that I talked about [Monday],” Ross said. “And it turned out it was something.
“He’s doing OK. I think he feels OK. And hopefully he’ll be back real soon.”
The Cubs are awaiting protocol clearance for one more player on the list: de facto closer David Robertson, who has been sidelined since May 9.