CHICAGO – Cubs manager Joe Maddon took a look at the matchups and decided to tweak the pitching rotation for the coming days.
The upshot is that right-hander Tyler Chatwood will start Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks with left-hander Jose Quintana getting pushed back from Sunday to Tuesday, when the Los Angeles Dodgers come to Wrigley Field.
The Diamondbacks entered Friday’s series opener with an OPS of .881 against left-handed pitching compared with .758 against righties.
“That just gives these guys a couple extra days,” Maddon said. “We wanted to keep Chatwood involved, so we just did that.”
Chatwood was supposed to start this past Sunday against the Angels, but that game was snowed out. Maddon said Chatwood is built up enough to go deep into a game.
“More than you think,” he said. “We had him throw a lot in the bullpen in Miami the other day. He really believes he can throw 75-plus pitches, which I don’t doubt. It’s just a matter of how tough the outs are, if the outs are tough. If he has to work hard, it could be different. If he keeps throwing like he has been throwing, it’s reasonable to expect at least 80 pitches. We’ll just watch it and let it go, and he’ll let us know just by observation.”
Chatwood has made four relief appearances this season.
Injury updates: Left-handed ace Jon Lester is getting close to pitching a simulated game as he continues his recovery from a strained left hamstring, suffered during the April 8 home opener.
Lester is eligible to come off the injured list, but the Cubs have set no timetable for his return.
“The prognosis is good,” Maddon said. “He’s doing really well, actually. I don’t have an exact date on all that stuff, but I can just tell you that he’s doing really well.”
Left-handed reliever Mike Montgomery (left lat strain) was at Wrigley Field on Friday after working in a rehab outing for Class A South Bend this week. He threw a side session and will pitch in another minor league game early next week, the Cubs said.
Welcome back, Big Z: Former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano visited Wrigley Field before Friday’s game. Zambrano, who turns 38 on June 1, will begin a baseball comeback in May with the Chicago Dogs of the independent American Association. He last pitched in the majors with the Miami Marlins in 2012.
Zambrano said he has lost 25 pounds and is throwing 94 mph. He went 125-81 with the Cubs from 2001 to 2011, pitching a no-hitter in 2008.