One rehab start served as sufficient buildup for Chicago Cubs left-hander Wade Miley.
Miley was activated from the injured list Tuesday to start against the San Diego Padres. The Cubs still are determining who will start Wednesday’s series finale.
The Cubs put outfielder Michael Hermosillo on the 10-day IL with a left quadriceps strain before Tuesday’s game. The move opened a spot on the active roster for Miley.
Second baseman Nick Madrigal also landed on the IL with tightness in his lower back. Madrigal felt discomfort during Monday’s game and did not bounce back well Tuesday, prompting the move. The Cubs selected infielder Ildemaro Vargas from Triple-A Iowa and designated right-hander Adrian Sampson for assignment.
Seiya Suzuki, meanwhile, was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup about 75 minutes before first pitch because of lingering soreness in his right ankle. Suzuki exited Monday’s game in the sixth inning after awkwardly hitting first base when running out a double-play ball in the fifth. Yan Gomes replaced Suzuki as the designated hitter Tuesday.
Left elbow inflammation sidelined Miley shortly after he reported to spring training in mid-March. He was expected to be a stabilizing presence in the rotation after the Cubs claimed him off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds in November.
While the Cubs offense had notably scuffled over the previous 17 games before Monday’s 6-0 win over the Padres — hitting .204 and averaging 3.2 runs in that span, which includes a 21-run game against the Pittsburgh Pirates — the rotation has yet to hit its stride. The Cubs need Miley to help get the rotation in a groove by ripping off a few consecutive quality starts.
“We’ve had to throw some bullpen days out there just because of some adversity we’ve hit early on,” manager David Ross said Monday at Petco Park. “Just another veteran presence you can get out there and trust to go out and do his thing.”
The rotation appeared in rough shape after Sunday. Right-hander Marcus Stroman went on the injured list before the 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers without an injury distinction, indicating a COVID-19-related move.
Then left-hander Justin Steele, originally slated to start Monday and bumped up to Sunday, exited the game while warming up for the fifth inning because of a sore left thumb.
Steele played catch Monday and told the Tribune his thumb felt fine with no lingering issues. Although there is a little stiffness around his lower knuckle, Steele was able to use his slider grip Monday, which is what plagued him Sunday to prompt his removal. He anticipates making his next start.
Right-hander Alec Mills’ progress hasn’t changed much. His light bullpen session Sunday at the team complex in Arizona went well, but it remains unclear when he will resume his rehab assignment. Mills initially went on the IL with a lower back strain and made a rehab start April 23, but he experienced tightness in his right quadriceps and was shut down nearly two weeks ago.
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons had a scheduled day off Monday as part of his rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa and will ramp up this week.