Cubs’ left-hander Drew Smyly has 13-pitch rehab stint
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Left-hander Drew Smyly, who signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Chicago Cubs before the season after Tommy John surgery, said he felt good in a rehab start that included him striking out all three batters he faced.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Smyly needed just 13 pitches in his outing Thursday night at the Cubs’ Single A Midwest League affiliate in South Bend. Eleven of the pitches were in the strike zone against Bowling Green. Smyly then went to the bullpen at the top of the second inning to throw another eight pitches.
“I felt very good — pain-free, which is always my first concern,” Smyly said. “It’s been 18 months since I’ve actually played in a game, out there competing. It was an exciting time for me, regardless of the level.”
It was the 29-year-old Smyly’s first action in a game since he had the surgery in July 2017. He has been on the 60-day disabled list with the Cubs since the season began and had pitched simulated games in Chicago in recent weeks. The Cubs had indicated there was a possibility he could return sometime in mid- to late September.
Smyly said he believes he will have another rehab stint after the weekend before the minor league season ends. He indicated he has not talked with the Cubs about being used this season but would not be adverse to pitching out of the bullpen, where he started his career with the Detroit Tigers.
Smyly last pitched in 2016 for Tampa Bay, finishing with a 7-12 record and 4.88 ERA in 30 starts. He had 167 strikeouts in 175.1 innings. He is 31-27 with a 3.73 ERA in parts of five seasons. The Rays traded Smyly to Seattle in 2017 but he was placed on the disabled list before the season.
On Thursday, Smyly threw 10 fastballs on the mound. He struck out two with called strikes and the third batter went down swinging at a 91 mph fastball. The umpire was Jen Pawol — the first female umpire Smyly had ever seen behind home plate.
“She was giving me the outside corner which was nice,” Smyly said.