Suzuki set to join Iowa Cubs; pitchers could follow

Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki will begin a rehab assignment Thursday, Cubs manager David Ross said. The Iowa Cubs are home in Des Moines for a series against the Columbus Clippers this week.

Suzuki hasn't played since May 26 in Cincinnati, when he stumbled while trying to avoid a throw at second base, landed awkwardly on the bag and suffered a sprained left index finger.

After a fast start in the majors, Suzuki was hitting .245 with 4 home runs at the time of his injury.

"I'm really looking forward to getting him back," Ross said before Wednesday's game against the Reds. "We've missed him. Hes' obviously a big part of what we're doing here moving forward. The more experience he can gain is going to be better for us and him to speed things up for where we want to go."

There is no set length for the rehab assignment. Ross said it will depend on how Suzuki feels and the feedback they get from Iowa coaches.

Meanwhile, starting pitchers Marcus Stroman (right shoulder inflammation) and Drew Smyly (right oblique strain) are set to throw bullpen sessions in a couple of days and could be sent on rehab assignments if all goes well. Outfielder Jason Heyward may need to go on the injured list with a sore knee and first baseman Frank Schwindel still has ground to cover in his return from a sore back.

"JayHey's still banged up," Ross said. "We're going to have to take a hard look at that soon. It's not getting better. Frank is slowly getting better. Starting to get back to baseball activity here real soon. Hopefully things can pick up a little bit of the pace."

The Cubs also gave infielder Jonathan Villar his unconditional release. Villar was designated for assignment last Friday when David Bote was activated.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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