The Cubs will welcome back reliever Pedro Strop from the injured list, manager Joe Maddon tells Bruce Levine of 670 The Score (Twitter link). Fellow righty Dillon Maples was optioned down to make room.
Strop’s return from a hamstring injury is an important step for a club that has had its share of relief issues of late. The Chicago pen has blown more saves (seven) in the past month than all but one other team (the Mets, with nine). Adding Strop back to the late-inning mix will not only give Maddon another key arm to work with in high-leverage situations but will help deepen the rest of the unit.
Soon to turn 34, Strop has long been a reliable piece for the Cubs. Since landing in Chicago, he carries a 2.71 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 over 342 frames of action. He has allowed just 5.7 hits and 0.6 home runs per nine in that span.
It’s tough to say much after a twelve-appearance sample, but Strop was perhaps a tick off to begin the season. His velocity has continued to trend down, albeit at a gentle pace, and he had permitted six earned runs in his 10 2/3 innings. Most of the damage came in two outings to open the year.
The Cubs will be glad to throw Strop back in the mix to see whether he can get back to his usual productivity. Whether or not he’ll retake the closer’s job from Steve Cishek remains to be seen. The club would prefer to have both of those pitchers working in a setup capacity in front of Brandon Morrow, but it’s anyone’s guess whether and when he’ll return.