The Cubs have selected the contract of right-hander Jason Adam and will appoint him as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader, per a club announcement. Chicago also placed catcher Robinson Chirinos on the 10-day IL due to an oblique strain and recalled outfielder Greg Deichmann from Triple-A Iowa.
It’s a remarkable return for Adam, who suffered a gruesome injury with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate earlier in the season. The 30-year-old right-hander was shagging fly-balls in the outfield during batting practice and suffered an open dislocation and fracture of his ankle, which caused significant damage to multiple ligaments and tendons in his foot and ankle.
Adam told the Des Moines Register’s Tommy Birch back in June that he had thoughts of NFL quarterback Alex Smith’s career-altering injury and the harrowing sequence of surgeries and infection that followed. At one point, Adam feared he might lose his foot. Adam told Birch that he went into shock and that doctors had difficulty sedating him for surgery due to the excess of adrenaline his body produced in the wake of the injury. Birch’s story is well worth a full read for full context on the severity of Adam’s injury as well as quotes from Adam, teammates and coaches who were there at the time (note that there are some rather graphic details of the awful injury).
Incredibly, however, doctors told Adam after the surgery that he could be back on a mound by season’s end. The Cubs designated Adam for assignment and released him shortly after the surgery, as injured players cannot be placed on outright waivers and the team needed to open a 40-man roster spot. They re-signed Adam to a minor league deal a few weeks later, however, and he’s steadily been working his way back to the mound ever since.
Adam not only returned to pitching in minor league games earlier this month but has done so with quite strong results. It’s only five innings over five appearances, but he’s held opponents to one run on five hits and a walk with seven punchouts.
It could very well be a short-term return to the Majors for Adam, who struggled through 7 2/3 frames in the big leagues earlier in the year (seven runs on nine hits and six walks). That said, Adam was quietly very effective with the Blue Jays and Cubs from 2019-20, pitching a combined 35 1/3 innings with a 3.06 ERA. He fanned more than 36 percent of the hitters he faced with the Cubs in 2020, and while walks have been an issue for him, that ability to miss bats is genuinely intriguing. Time will tell whether he sticks on the 40-man roster, but the very fact that Adam is pitching at all, just four months after such a severe injury, is something of a triumph in and of itself.