Cubs plan on stretching Thompson into starter's role
Right-handed pitcher Keegan Thompson was sent down to Iowa on Tuesday, while left-handed Kyle Ryan and right-handed Cory Abbott returned, filling the roster spot created by the trade of Andrew Chafin.
Thompson had a three-inning save against Arizona on Friday, then pitched again Monday, so he was going to need some time off. But the Cubs are planning to get him stretched out in Iowa to where he might get a tryout as a starter later this season.
They did the same with left-hander Justin Steele, who now has three starts under his belt for the Iowa Cubs. Manager David Ross said he thinks Steele is ready to start for the Cubs whenever they need him.
At the moment, the Cubs have an abundance of starters with Trevor Williams and Alec Mills in the rotation, and Jake Arrieta likely to come off the injured list at some point. But the Cubs might see what the future holds for Steele and Thompson as starters. They both started throughout the minor leagues, then provided bullpen help for the Cubs this season.
The Cubs are holding off on bringing a couple of promising relievers up from Iowa. Ben Leeper, signed by the Cubs as an undrafted free agent last year out of Oklahoma State, has a 1.62 ERA for Iowa with 28 strikeouts and just 3 hits in 16 innings. Manuel Rodriguez has a 1.37 ERA between Iowa and Tennessee this season.