Drew Smyly

Drew Smyly heads to Cubs' bullpen, Javier Assad to start in Toronto


Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Drew Smyly will move to the team’s bullpen, at least temporarily, amid his continuing struggles, manager David Ross revealed Wednesday.

During his pregame media availability, Ross said that Smyly will be available out of the bullpen for this weekend’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays, and that Javier Assad will get the start in the Friday contest north of the border.

“He wants to win just like everybody else. He gets it with all the off-days that it makes sense,” he said.

Smyly has struggled badly over the last two months, making 11 appearances and giving up a total of 42 earned runs. His ERA has ballooned from 3.27 to 5.05 during that time, and he was roughed up by the New York Mets Monday, giving up seven earned runs.

Smyly has not won a start since June 19.

Ross said that Smyly’s eventual return to the rotation will be dependent on not just his performance, but also the timeline for the return of Marcus Stroman to the mix after the hurler was put on the injured list due to a hip ailment.

He said that the decision wasn’t a “mental break,” but that he wants to still contribute to the team and the bullpen will likely be a beneficial one to him.

“I don’t know if he needs a mental break. It’s just one of those things where it’s an opportunity for him to help us out of the pen while he’s not throwing his best,” he said.

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