After nearly four months, Boxberger returns to Cubs' bullpen
The Cubs added a veteran arm to their bullpen by activating Brad Boxberger from the 60-day injured list Friday. Boxberger has been on the IL with a right forearm strain since May 15.
The 35-year-old has a career 3.51 ERA with 84 saves (including an AL-best 41 with the Rays in 2015) during a 12-year career.
Boxberger went through an extensive throwing program in Arizona, then had four straight scoreless outings with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.
("He's) a guy that can pitch every day, has been through some playoff pushes and (joins) a bullpen that's expected to handle a heavy workload late in the season," said pitching coach Tommy Hottovy. "Obviously excited to add him back to that mix."
Boxberger, 35, pitched in the postseason for the Marlins in 2020 and '21.
In a corresponding move, Keegan Thompson was optioned to Iowa.
Going, going ... caught:
Nico Hoerner hit one of the hardest balls off Arizona starter Zac Gallen during the Cubs' 1-0 loss to Arizona on Friday, but it dropped into Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s glove on the left-field warning track. The ball had a 99-mph exit velocity and soared 355 feet.
"With the wind blowing in you've got to really crush it," Hoerner said. "It was a well hit ball but not crushed."
Not much else was crushed against Gallen, who improved to 15-7 and threw a complete game for just the second time in 112 starts.
"He's really aggressive with his fastball and has good command of it," Hoerner said. "Got good life and cut. That's his bread and butter, and he's got some other off-speed pitches to keep you honest."
Seiya Suzuki (2-for-3) had the only other hits against Gallen. Suzuki extended his hitting streak to nine games. He's hitting .444 during the run.
Marcus Stroman felt so good after his 29-pitch live batting practice session Thursday that he texted pitching coach Tommy Hottovy about 15 times. Stroman, who hasn't pitched in a game since July 31, is on the injured list with right hip inflammation.
"He's more enthused and obviously we're more enthused that he's gonna get to the point that he'll be able to help us (again) this year," said Hottovy, who expects Stroman to throw another live BP on Monday. "Still have to check a lot of boxes, though. It's one thing to feel enthused after a 2-inning live BP, but we've got to progress from there."
Around the horn:
Adbert Alzolay (1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout) pitched for the first time in a week during the Cubs' loss to Arizona. The Cubs were resting Alzolay after he appeared in 15 games from Aug. 3 to Sept. 1. ... Jeimer Candelario is 3-for-33 in his last 11 games. ... Cody Bellinger went 0-for-3 Friday, snapping his nine-game hitting streak. ... Arizona's Corbin Carroll is 25-for-64 (.391) with 3 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs and 10 RBIs in his last 19 games. Carroll also had 3 stolen bases to up his season total to 45. That ranks third in the majors behind Oakland's Esteury Ruiz and Atlanta's Ronald Acuna. ... Ben Zobrist received a long, sustained ovation before throwing a ceremonial first pitch to manager David Ross before Friday's game. Zobrist and Ross were teammates on the Cubs' 2016 World Series champs.