The Cubs have placed right-handers John Lackey and Hector Rondon on the disabled list for precautionary measures due to arm injuries, as MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reported. The Cubs have the luxury of placing both pitchers on the DL to avoid risk of worsening their minor injuries and will recall left-hander Rob Zastryzny and right-hander Felix Pena from Triple-A Iowa.
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Lackey, 37, is dealing with shoulder soreness, while the 28-year-old Rondon has a triceps issue. Neither is believed to be serious, with Chicago acting to add some fresh arms while taking a cautious approach with two of their better arms.
The veteran Lackey has been one of the offseason’s better free agent additions, as he has already run up 158 1/3 innings of 3.41 ERA pitching with 8.9 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9. That strikeout-per-nine rate represents a career-best mark for the 14-year big leaguer, which is no small feat given his age. His two-year, $32MM contract looked like a solid buy upon signing, and seems an even better bargain with nearly half of it already in the books.
As for Rondon, 2016 has been another stellar campaign. Though he was bumped from the closer’s role with the addition of Aroldis Chapman, that wasn’t due to any performance issues from the former Rule 5 pick. Far from it. Over his 43 2/3 frames this year, Rondon carries a 2.47 ERA. He has compiled that mark while racking up 10.5 K/9 versus just 1.2 BB/9 — improving upon his two excellent prior seasons in both regards.
If any team can weather the loss of two such significant hurlers, it is the Cubs. That’s not necessarily due to any kind of unique pitching depth as it is the team’s likely-insurmountable 13-game lead in the NL Central. Chicago is also in excellent shape in securing home field advantage, pacing the Nationals by six games for the National League’s top record.