The Cubs signed Joe Nathan to a Major League contract on May 17 and placed him on the 60-day DL as he rehabbed from a second Tommy John surgery. Nathan worked out at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa and prepared for a rehab assignment.
Nathan was sent on a rehab assignment to Double-A Tennessee on June 23. Nathan was expected to spend his entire rehab stint with the Smokies, who play their home games near Nathan’s home in Knoxville.
In seven games with Double-A Tennessee, Nathan allowed two runs on three hits (two solo home runs) with no walks and six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Nathan is eligible to come off the 60-day DL on Saturday (July 16). Nathan is expected to be added to the bullpen at some point during the homestand that begins Friday (July 15) and runs through Wednesday (June 20).
Joe Nathan told the Des Moines Register he is scheduled to pitch Thursday night and then again Saturday. Nathan said after “a couple of appearances” with the I-Cubs the plan is for him to join the Cubs early next week.
LHP Brian Matusz reported to Principal Park on Thursday after pitching Tuesday for Double-A Tennessee. Matusz allowed one run on two hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. Matusz told the Des Moines Register he is scheduled to pitch “sometime during the weekend” for the I-Cubs.
Matusz signed a minor league contract with the Cubs on June 15 and was being stretched out as a starting pitcher. Matusz completed his longest outing Tuesday (3 1/3 innings) in almost four years.
Updated 8:47pm CDT – During the I-Cubs broadcast on Thursday night, Randy Wehofer reported Brian Matusz is scheduled to start Sunday’s game against Las Vegas at Principal Park.
The Cubs will make at least one roster move prior to Friday’s opener against the Rangers. The roster move should be activating David Ross. The Cubs will have to make another roster move next week to add Joe Nathan to the 25-man roster. The Cubs’ 40-man roster currently stands at 39 players. Nathan will take that empty spot when he comes off the 60-day DL.
Updated 10:04pm CDT – Joe Nathan made his first appearance with the Iowa Cubs on Thursday night. Nathan struck out the first two batters he faced (Eric Campbell, T.J. Rivera) and retired Kevin Plawecki on a pop out to second base. Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning on 11 pitches, eight for strikes.
Nathan threw his fastball in the 91-92 mph range, topped out at 92 mph on the strike out of Rivera. Nathan was sharp with a mid-80s slider and low-80s changeup, the same that he threw in the seven outings with Double-A Tennessee.