The Cubs will be without their most consistent starting pitchers for the foreseeable future.
Saturday, the Cubs placed left-hander Cole Hamels on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain. The team also designated outfielder Carlos González for assignment, promoting relievers Dillon Maples and Rowan Wick from Triple-A Iowa in corresponding moves.
Hamels exited Friday's game against the Reds ahead of the second inning after experiencing discomfort in his side throwing warmup pitches. Manager Joe Maddon said Hamels would be placed on the injured list with an oblique strain, making Saturday's announcement a mere formality.
This marks the second time in three seasons that Hamels has suffered an oblique injury. He missed nearly two months in 2017 with a right oblique strain, though he told Mark Gonzales from the Chicago Tribune that he doesn't think the injury will be as bad this time around.
Be that as it may, Hamels will likely be out for an extended period of time, which leaves the Cubs without 40 percent of their Opening Day starting rotation. Kyle Hendricks is currently on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, and while he could return before the All-Star break, his return date not set in stone.
Without Hamels and Hendricks, Adbert Alzolay and Tyler Chatwood will be fixtures in the starting rotation for the foreseeable future. The Cubs already announced that Alzolay will start Monday against the Pirates and that Chatwood will return to the bullpen. Now, Chatwood will likely return to starting, at least until Hendricks returns.
González is somewhat of a roster casualty. Since Hamels only pitched an inning last night, the Cubs were forced to stretch their bullpen out, using Mike Montgomery, Brad Brach, Kyle Ryan and Steve Cishek. Chatwood, Strop and possibly Kimbrel were unavailable on Friday, hence the need for Maples and Wick to come up from Triple-A.
At the same time, González has struggled in big league action with the Indians and Cubs this season. The 33-year-old holds a .200/.289/.283 slashline in 145 at-bats, including a .175/.306/.300 line in 40 at-bats with the Cubs.
Maples hasn't allowed a run in 5 2/3 MLB innings this season, striking out 10 batters compared to nine walks. He has struggled with command in his young MLB career, walking 20 batters in 16 1/3 career innings. However, he's walked just two batters in his last 5 2/3 innings at Iowa, striking out 12 batters over that span.
This marks Wick's third stint with the Cubs this season. The hard-throwing right-hander has allowed just one earned runs in 3 2/3 innings with the Cubs this season, striking out six batters. He holds a 2.22 ERA in 28 1/3 innings with Iowa this season, striking out 34 batters compared to eight walks.
The Cubs now have just three bench players available Saturday against the Reds — David Bote, Victor Caratini and Daniel Descalso.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.