October 5, 2022

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Injuries & Moves: Mills' bullpen 'went well'

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Keep track of the Cubs’ recent transactions and injury updates throughout the season.

RHP Alec Mills (lower back strain)
Expected return:
Mills’ bullpen session on April 16 “went well,” per manager David Ross, who added that the right-hander will face hitters within the next few days. A Minor League rehab assignment could follow. In the meantime, with Mills still sidelined, expect righty Mark Leiter Jr. to get another look in the rotation. Mills previously threw a simulated game on April 10, getting to 70-plus pitches, per Ross.

Mills was originally scheduled to start in an extended spring camp game on April 5, but he instead opted to get his work in at the club’s complex. Ross noted that the righty had some back tightness earlier that day, but it loosened up enough to proceed with a 50-plus-pitch workout. When the issues persisted, the Cubs elected to place Mills on the IL to start the season. The right-hander is in Chicago’s plans as an option for the rotation or bullpen this season. Ross said the team was just using “a lot of precaution” with the long season ahead. — Jordan Bastian (Last updated: April 17)

LHP Wade Miley (left elbow inflammation)
Expected return:
Miley threw 15 pitches off a mound on April 16 at Coors Field. It marks his first time working off the mound since a left elbow injury flared up during Spring Training. The Cubs will monitor the veteran lefty’s progress in the coming days before determining the next step in his throwing program.

Manager David Ross noted on April 1 that Miley had been dealing with a left elbow issue during the spring. An MRI revealed inflammation, and the lefty was shut down from throwing. There remains no firm timetable for his return, but a typical pitcher’s build-up program might delay him until at least the end of April or early May. Miley downplayed the seriousness of the injury in a chat with reporters on April 2.

“I could’ve dealt with it, no doubt about it,” Miley said. “I probably could go pitch, but it didn’t make sense to deal with that and affect other things.” — Jordan Bastian (Last updated: April 16)

SS Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder)
Expected return:
Simmons has remained on a throwing program in Arizona and has reported feeling around “85-90 percent” with his arm, per Ross. The veteran shortstop recently had a setback involving a finger and took a break from hitting, but will resume swinging on Saturday, according to the manager. After Simmons resumes facing live pitching, Ross said the shortstop should not be too far removed from a Minor League rehab assignment.

“Saw some video. I get video of him pretty regularly. Looks good,” Ross said on Friday. “Throwing’s going well. Ground balls are going well. He feels good. He feels like he’s at 85 percent with the arm. So, I don’t think he’s that far away. It’s just getting back to the swings.” — Jordan Bastian (Last updated: April 15)

INF David Bote (left shoulder surgery)
Expected return: TBD
Bote underwent a shoulder procedure in October, and the Cubs initially estimated a rehab period of at least six months. The utility man has been able to stay on a throwing program and has resumed light hitting and fielding drills this spring. Bote was placed on the 60-day injured list on March 19 and feels that two-month stay on the shelf should cover the time required for rehab and games buildup. Bote separated the same shoulder in late May. He returned from the IL before the end of July but sustained another setback late in the season. Bote hit .199 with eight homers, 35 RBIs and a .606 OPS in 97 games for Chicago last year. — Jordan Bastian (Last updated: March 25)

RHP Adbert Alzolay (right elbow tightness)
Expected return:
President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer noted at the start of Spring Training that Alzolay sustained a right lat/shoulder injury. The righty was hoping to compete for a rotation spot this spring, but will begin the season on the 60-day IL. Last season, Alzolay posted a 4.58 ERA with 128 strikeouts and 34 walks in 125 2/3 innings between 29 appearances (21 starts). — Jordan Bastian (Last updated: March 18)

LHP Brad Wieck (left elbow strain)
Expected return:
The Cubs placed Wieck on the injured list on March 17 due to a left elbow strain, which flared during a bullpen session earlier in the week, according to the team. That is a blow to Chicago’s bullpen, which hoped to have Wieck available as a possible setup option this season. Last year, Wieck had a 0.00 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 17 innings before a heart issue ended his season prematurely. — Jordan Bastian (Last updated: March 17)

OF Codi Heuer (right elbow surgery)
Expected return:
Heuer had Tommy John surgery on March 7 and will miss the entire 2022 campaign. The righty was one of the players acquired from the White Sox before last year’s Trade Deadline in the deal that sent closer Craig Kimbrel to the South Side. In 65 games last year, Heuer had a 4.28 overall ERA, including a 3.14 ERA in 25 appearances down the stretch for the Cubs. His fastball velocity did drop to 95.9 mph on average in ’21, compared to 97.6 mph in ’20, per Statcast.

“He’s going to be a huge part of what we want to do here in the future, and he knows that,” Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. “It’s just reassuring that, ‘Look, a lot of us have been through it.’ There’s a lot of people that he can lean on through this process. He’s got a bright future. Bump in the road. He’ll keep working. And hopefully be good as new.” — Jordan Bastian (Last updated: March 14)

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