The Cubs attempted to bolster their roster at the trade deadline, acquiring Nicholas Castellanos, David Phelps and Tony Kemp, and now have a major in-house reinforcement on the way. As expected, left-hander Cole Hamels will come off the injured list Saturday, manager Joe Maddon announced to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune and other reporters. He’ll start against the National League Central rival Brewers, who are also vying for a division title.
The 35-year-old Hamels suffered an oblique strain in his most recent start June 28, and his month-plus absence has deprived the Cubs of one of their best starters during a crucial stretch. The club lost the latest game he started, though it still ended the night in first place in the division. The Cubs are now a game back of the front-running Cardinals, who shellacked them, 8-0, Thursday. Chicago does, however, hold a wild-card spot.
Hamels, who’s scheduled to become a free agent at season’s end, has turned in his latest quality season in a long succession of them. Across 99 2/3 innings, the former Phillie and Ranger has posted a terrific 2.98 ERA/3.59 FIP with 8.76 K/9, 3.16 BB/9 and a 51.1 percent groundball rate. Hamels paces the Cubs’ rotation – a group that also includes Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana – in ERA, FIP and grounder percentage.