Ready for anything? Stroman will start for Cubs on Saturday

Some said it couldn't be done, but Marcus Stroman will return to the Cubs starting rotation Saturday against Colorado.

Manager David Ross made the announcement just before exiting his postgame news conference following the Cubs' 6-0 victory on Friday.

When Stroman was diagnosed with a rib cartilage fracture in August, it was unclear if he would pitch again this season. But he returned to the mound in relief on Sept. 15 at Arizona, told reporters Wednesday he was ready for anything, and will now try to push the Cubs closer to the postseason from a starting role.

"I thought he looked good coming out of the pen," said Jameson Taillon, Friday's winning pitcher. "His delivery looks good, his stuff looks good. We can't forget he was like one of the best starters in baseball for like the first three months.

"Any version we get back of him is going to be great. He's a competitor, he's been around a long time, he's pitched in big games. I'm excited to see him out there. He always brings energy, he loves pitching in front of Wrigley Field fans, so it should be fun.

Stroman's last start was on July 31. His ERA at Wrigley Field through the end of June was 1.98. He had a couple of duds in July before going on the injured list with right hip inflammation. Just as he was about to return against the White Sox on Aug. 16, he was diagnosed with the rib injury and hasn't had much chance to build his endurance.

There wasn't an immediate answer from the Cubs on whether Jordan Wicks, Saturday's scheduled starter, will be pushed back or maybe used in relief. Javier Assad is slated to pitch Sunday.

Winning time:

The Double A Tennessee Smokies won their first-round playoff series by beating Chattanooga 5-1 on Thursday. Six-foot-7 outfielder Kevin Alcantara hit a 3-run homer, while 6-foot-8 right-hander Walker Powell was the winning pitcher. The Smokies begin the best-of-three championship series against Pensacola on Sunday.

Around the horn:

Rosters for the Arizona Fall League were officially released. The Cubs plan to send OF Alexander Canario, OF Kevin Alcantara, IF James Triantos - all top 15 prospects in the organization - along with pitchers Nick Hull, Chris Kachmar, Adam Laskey, Jose Romero and Tyler Santana. ... Pete Crow-Armstrong collected his first career stolen base Friday when he beat a pickoff throw to second.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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