Cubs bullpen dealt early blow with Wick's lingering injury


MESA, Arizona — The Cubs’ bullpen depth already has taken its first big hit of the season with the growing likelihood that setup man Rowan Wick’s lingering oblique injury likely will keep him sidelined into the start of the season.

Wick, the power-pitching right-hander who has been a force in the Cubs’ bullpen the last two seasons, finished the last two weeks of 2020 on the injured list because of the injury that manager David Ross called “pretty bad” at the time.

But nobody thought it was bad enough to linger this long, and Ross said on Thursday that Wick was scheduled for more extensive medical tests to better pinpoint the source of the continued pain.

“I know the doc and the training staff have been on top of it. It’s something they’ve been trying to navigate all offseason and figure out,” Ross said.

Wick, who has a 2.66 ERA in 50 appearances for the Cubs since being acquired in a trade from the Padres two winters ago, has not been able to start a throwing program this spring.

“The healing process is different for everybody,” said pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, who added it’s “fair to say” that being ready for the season opener might be an ambitious timeline for Wick.

“It’s just about getting to the root of what’s going on and then just kind of giving him the right program to get back to being himself,” Hottovy said. “We don’t want to rush that process either. I think that’s the biggest thing.”

The Cubs last week signed right-hander Brandon Workman, who in 2019 had a 1.88 ERA and 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings as a setup man for the Red Sox (before struggling with the Red Sox and Phillies during the pandemic 2020 season).

Camp chatter: Outfielder Cameron Maybin joined camp Thursday after his minor-league deal became official. An impressive trade-deadline addition down the stretch last year, Maybin is a favorite to make the opening roster. … Kyle Hendricks is the Cubs’ starter for Monday’s spring opener against the Padres, which lines him up for a second consecutive Opening Day start. (The Cubs, however, have not yet announced their Opening Day starter.)

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