Cubs put lefty Jordan Wicks on 15-day IL in another early hit to the rotation

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jordan Wicks landed on the IL Sunday with a left forearm injury. File photo.

Lindsey Wasson/AP

On deck: Cubs at Mets

Monday: Jameson Taillon (2-0, 1.69) vs. Luis Severino (2-2, 2.67), 6:10 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.Tuesday: Javier Assad (2-0, 2.00) vs. Sean Manaea (1-1, 3.33), 6:10 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.Wednesday: Shota Imanaga (4-0, 0.98) vs. José Buttó (0-1, 2.86), 6:10 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.Thursday: Ben Brown (0-1, 4.30) vs. Adrian Houser (0-3, 8.37), 12:10 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.

BOSTON — The Cubs face a new injury hurdle after putting left-hander Jordan Wicks on the 15-day injured list with what they called a strained left forearm Sunday.

They have three pitchers who were part of the Opening Day rotation on the IL, with Wicks joining efty Justin Steele (strained left hamstring) and right-hander Kyle Hendricks (strained lower back).

“You want your best players out there; there’s no question about it,” manager Craig Counsell said before the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Red Sox. “But we have to look at it as, these are opportunities.”

Right-hander Hayden Wesneski took Wicks’ place as the starter Sunday.

The Cubs also made a series of bullpen moves, optioning rookie Luke Little to Triple-A Iowa, recalling young right-hander Daniel Palencia and selecting the contract of lefty Richard Lovelady, whom they signed to a minor-league deal in the offseason. Palenica and Lovelady combined for three scoreless innings and four strikeouts Sunday.

The Wicks move is retroactive to Thursday, so he’ll be eligible to return May 10. His timeline will depend on how he responds to treatment.

“We just wanted to be precautionary this early in the season,” Wicks said. “I feel like there’s no reason to push it or put anything unnecessarily at risk. Obviously, extremely frustrated that we had to do that, but it’s the best course of action with the bigger picture in mind. Not overly concerned.”

Counsell had a similar outlook.

“That’s the hope, is that maybe we caught this soon enough that it’s just a short stay,” he said.

Wicks said he first felt the soreness in his arm — “inside of the forearm, right around the flexor area, not near the elbow or anything like that” — warming up for his last start. But by the time he was ready, it had gone away.

“So I didn’t think anything of it,” he said.

Throwing in between starts this week, however, the tightness and soreness persisted.

“I’ve had little stints of it [before], just soreness, nothing really crazy,” he said. “Usually we take a couple of days from throwing, give it a couple of days. It calms down, and then we keep rolling. I also think I’ve had it about this time the year before.”

The familiarity helped him remain optimistic that he’d be able to bounce back with rest. He said he hadn’t had imaging done on the injury but likely will look into it, just for peace of mind.

Bellinger optimistic

Center fielder Cody Bellinger (fractured right ribs) took meaningful steps in his rehab process. After moving through his swing Saturday, he hit off a tee for the first time. He also hit about five front-tossed balls. And he played catch.

Cody Bellinger is playing catch

— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) April 28, 2024

Bellinger said he hopes to come back about as quickly as he did in September 2021, when he fractured a rib colliding with Gavin Lux. He was only sidelined for 10 days then. But Counsell cautioned that the calculus is different this early in the season.

“We haven’t had anything that tells us that can’t happen right now,” Counsell said. “But he also has some intensity to conquer before we get there. . . . We’ve got a lot of games left, and I don’t think playing in a lot of pain is what we want to tackle right now.”

Morel in lineup

Third baseman Christopher Morel was back in the lineup. He left the Cubs’ blowout loss the night before after a collision in the seventh inning.

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