After spring detour, reliever Ryan returns to Cubs
The Cubs brought back left-handed reliever Kyle Ryan before Friday's game against Milwaukee and placed pitcher Shelby Miller on the injured list with a sore back.
Ryan was on the COVID list when spring training began. So his arrival in Mesa was delayed and he never pitched in an official exhibition game. He's been at the South Bend alternate site since April 1.
"It took a while for him to even get into camp because of some COVID stuff," Cubs manager David Ross said. "Then when he got in hew was just behind and we wanted to make sure we built him up in the right way.
"It really goes all the way back to last year and testing positive before summer camp and having to rush back and just never getting to the version of himself that we thought he could be. The pitches weren't as crisp, the velocity was down. We really saw a drop off on back-to-back days. So we just want to make sure we built him up in the right way and make sure he was able to give us multiple innings."
Ryan appeared in 73 games during the 2019 season and posted a 3.54 ERA. Last season, he pitched 15 2/3 innings with a 5.17 ERA.
"When he's right, we trust him against vs. left and right," Ross said. "So it's really a valuable piece down there when he's right and he showed that a couple years ago. We just wanted to make sure we did right by him as well as us to build his arm back up sufficiently so he could help us out."
Nico Hoerner is in Friday's lineup at second base, his first start of the season, while Kris Bryant is getting his third straight start in the outfield with the Cubs facing their third-straight left-handed starter in Milwaukee's Brett Anderson.