“I’m ready to go” – Twin Cities

Marcus Stroman is back and determined to do what he can to help the Chicago Cubs reach the playoffs.

The Cubs activated the right-hander from the injured list before Friday’s series opener at Arizona and optioned right-hander Daniel Palencia to Triple-A Iowa.

Stroman will be used out of the bullpen – at least for now – as he continues to develop. He threw three innings and about 45 pitches in his final live batting practice Monday at the team’s complex in Mesa, Arizona.

“I want them to be able to use me in any role and help the team, without necessarily forcing me into a starting rotation,” Stroman said Friday. “I know I can start and contribute in this way. I’m going to be a starter for the rest of my career. But in this case, I don’t want to exclude anyone. I want this to mix and mingle and use me to the best of my abilities.

A week after suffering a right rib cartilage fracture on Aug. 13 in Toronto, Stroman received a cortisone injection. He continued to embark on the rest and recovery process to stay strong. Stroman said his arm and shoulder feel good.

“It’s just about getting my ribs and my lungs to the point where I can breathe properly and it doesn’t bother me while I sleep,” Stroman said. “I feel like I’ve progressed really quickly and I’m grateful to be where I am.

“They can use me in whatever role they want, but I feel ready to compete and contribute, so that’s that mindset.”

Stroman was placed on the 15-day injured list on August 1 with right hip inflammation and was expected to return on August 16. He has not appeared in a game for the Cubs since leaving July 31.

When asked if he was not in pain, Stroman replied, “I’m ready to go.”

Stroman’s only major league experience as a relief pitcher came in six games during his 2014 rookie season with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Despite the long absence from the game, Stroman said the key to being ready to return is when he “clicks” on the mound. Stroman texted pitching coach Tommy Hottovy and the training staff this week, saying “I’m ready to contribute.”

Stroman gives the Cubs a leg up in the bullpen for a group that desperately needed a day off Thursday after playing 27 games in 27 days.

“The more good players we can have in the squad to help us – Marcus has proven himself and getting him back was an important step,” manager David Ross said. “He’s a guy who’s not going to back down from the moment. Love the big moment. He has been in every possible situation as a starter.

“You have to trust your guys and he’s the one we trust.”



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