Chicago Cubs manager David Ross announced before Monday’s game in Pittsburgh that Jose Quintana will return from the injured list Tuesday to start that night’s game against the Pirates.
Quintana, who has missed the last three weeks with a strained lat, originally was slated for bullpen duty. But he’s stretched out enough after rehabbing in South Bend, Ind., and ready to rejoin the rotation.
Though Quintana has made only two relief appearances totaling six innings this season, Ross hasn’t ruled him out of the postseason rotation, which is up in the air after Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks.
The wild-card round is best of three, so Ross has to decide on only one more starter for the opening series, likely Jon Lester or Alec Mills.
Quintana also will pitch Sunday against the White Sox in the regular-season finale.
“Obviously we’re going to go with the best pitchers for the postseason,” Ross said. “Before I comment, I’d like to see him pitch.”
After pulling Kyle Schwarber from Sunday night’s game following a defensive lapse in left field, Ross re-inserted him into the cleanup spot Monday while moving Kris Bryant down to the No. 5 hole and keeping Javier Baez at No. 7.
Schwarber owned up to his mistake Sunday night.
“Kyle Schwarber is a true professional in every sense of the word,” Ross said. “And I’ll leave it at that.”
Ross has tinkered with his lineup the last few days, hoping to find something that clicks. The Cubs are hitting .224 heading into their final seven games, fourth-worst in the majors.
“Hitting can turn on a dime,” Ross said. “I’m really relying on the back of the baseball card for a lot of my optimism. I know what kind of players I have, their resumes and what they’ve done. I know this is a unique season that everyone is dealing with and it’s not normal. A lot of guys are trying to find their way around the league in this area.
“I rely on the group. I’ve trusted in the group all season and it’s gotten us this far. Maybe the numbers aren’t pretty, but the wins and loss column looks pretty good from my vantage point, so I’m going to continue to focus on those positive things.”
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