There are two very important games left in the Cubs' regular season schedule, and they won't have Pedro Strop for either of them. Strop had suggested in the past that he might be ready to pitch in this weekend's series against the Cardinals, but on Saturday he said that won't happen.
"We’re still looking for playoffs," Strop said.
Before Saturday's game, Strop said that he was focusing on jogging to make sure that his legs feel good enough to do things like cover first in a game. The picture for when the playoffs will begin for the Cubs remains unclear, but Strop said he doesn't see himself being needed until the division series at the end of next week.
"Thursday. Don’t tell me about Tuesday," Strop said, in reference to Tuesday's NL wild card game. "That’s the B plan, and we’re looking for the A plan."
Both Strop and manager Joe Maddon said that the fact that he has not been sidelined with an arm injury is a silver lining. And, Maddon said, if the Cubs can take care of winning the division this weekend, it will create an opportunity for a few days off so that Strop can possibly throw a sim game before Thursday to really see how he's feeling.
"He’s been throwing. It’s not like he’s not been able to throw this whole time, so that’s the good part," Maddon said Saturday. "The fact that he’s not been disabled with his arm, that really matters a lot. It shouldn’t be as bad as you think once he gets back out there. If he was just sitting around and not able to throw and you expect a good result, that’d be more difficult."
Strop said that he has been able to test his arm quite a bit during his stint on the disabled list and keep it as sharp as possible for the playoffs.
"That’s been the most important thing. I’ve been able to throw it, so my arm is in shape," Strop said.
Maddon added that Strop has looked good both in action and "on paper," as the team trainers have indicated that there's no reason to think he won't be ready to pitch in a game next week, even if his leg is not quite at 100 percent.
Strop might still be feeling the hamstring during his delivery a little bit, he shared Saturday, but not in a way that concerns him.
"Obviously you’re going to feel it when you get an injury that’s supposed to heal in 5-6 weeks, and in 2 weeks you’re already throwing. I expect to feel it a little bit, but it wasn’t nothing major," Strop said. "Nothing like I reinjured or anything like that. And I knew it was going to hurt at some point, so I’m not afraid of it."