Ross says return of Suzuki will be 'nice boost' for Cubs; three others coming back soon, too

The Cubs have dealt with an inordinate number of injuries this season, but four important players are on the verge of returning.

At the top of the list is OF Seiya Suzuki, who has been on the injured list with a finger sprain since May 27. Suzuki, who went 4-for-9 with 2 doubles and a home run in a rehab stint at Triple-A Iowa, should be in the lineup when the Cubs begin a three-game series Monday at Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, starting pitchers Marcus Stroman and Drew Smyly were scheduled to make rehab starts at Iowa on Sunday and Monday, respectively; and 1B Frank Schwindel (low back strain) will take live batting practice Tuesday in Milwaukee.

Suzuki hit .354 with a .492 on-base percentage in his first 16 games, but he was just 17-for-91 (.187) with 33 strikeouts in the 25 games before his injury.

"He's been missed," said manager David Ross. "(He's) a guy that needs to continue to get experience here. He was a big part of our success early on.

"Getting him back being completely healthy will be a nice boost for us; just extend the lineup a little bit. Obviously we'll try to ease him back in."

Ross said Suzuki's struggles boiled down to getting "out of rhythm a little bit."

Stroman, who signed a three-year, $71 million deal in the off-season, has been a disappointment. He is 2-5 with a 5.32 ERA in 9 starts (although 16 of his 28 earned runs have come in two starts).

Smyly, claimed off waivers from the Reds in the off-season, is also 2-5 in 9 starts, but he has a 3.80 ERA.

Schwindel's season average was at .200 on May 10, but he went 35-for-133 (. 263) with 6 homers, 7 doubles, 24 RBI and 10 walks in his last 35 games.

Ross responds to Wrigley rip:

Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Winckowski, who made his fifth MLB start on Saturday, wasn't very impressed with Wrigley Field.

"A little underwhelming," the rookie said when asked for his opinion on the venerable ballpark. "Fenway has a presence to it. I really didn't get that here, to be honest. I said to my mom last night, 'This place is very stock standard if you ask me.'"

Not surprisingly, David Ross - who played for both the Cubs and Red Sox - had a different take.

"My experience in both ballparks is pretty amazing," Ross said. "I've been a part of a World Series in both, and (Saturday) night at Wrigley felt pretty awesome. ...

"It was fun from my vantage point (Saturday) night. Fenway's the same way - historic. Just like here. Beautiful ballpark, a lot of history there. ...

"Two amazing ballparks and great places to play."

Around the horn:

Cubs starter Alec Mills, who had to leave Saturday's win over Boston after 7 pitches, was put on the 15-day injured list with a low back strain. The Cubs recalled RHP Michael Rucker (0-1, 5.49 ERA in 19.2 IP) in a corresponding move. ... The Cubs had 16 triples through Saturday's games, tied for third in the majors. Eleven players have at least 1, the most of any club. ...

Justin Steele (3-5, 4.39 ERA) will start Monday's game at Milwaukee. Steele has won two of his last three starts after recording just 1 victory in his first 12 starts.

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