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Cubs recall Hayden Wesneski to start Friday against Cardinals

ST. LOUIS – The Cubs recalled Hayden Wesneski to start against the Cardinals on Friday. The team plans to bring in left-hander Drew Smyly after him, trying a right-handed opener against the Cardinals for the second time in the span of a week. 

In a corresponding move, the Cubs optioned reliever Michael Rucker to Triple-A. 

“He’s been throwing the ball really well,” manager David Ross said of Wesneski. “And we’ve had some taxing innings on the bullpen a little bit. So, just giving [Michael] Fulmer, or whoever would have started today, a little bit of a breather before we go to Drew.” 

The Cubs used Fulmer as the opener before Smyly last week.

The Cubs’ plans for Smyly and Wesneski moving forward remain flexible. The trade deadline, and changes to the roster that will come with it, call for adaptability.

Wesneski, whose last stint with the major-league team was as a reliever, has been in Triple-A stretching out in Triple-A to provide starting depth. In three starts for Iowa, he built his pitch count from 48 to 70.

“But we also know that when we play 16 games in a row, we don’t want to have too many guys throwing too many pitches and not being able to get them back for four or five days,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said in a conversation with the Sun-Times. “So we’re trying to manage all the pieces together. And I think one important part for us is getting him back here, trusting it in short bursts and letting him go, and then seeing where where we want to go.”

Mikolas suspended

MLB announced it had handed down a five-game suspension to Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas for intentionally throwing at the Cubs’ Ian Happ in the first inning of their series opener Thursday. Mikolas elected to appeal. 

For the incident, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol received a one-game suspension, which he is set to serve Friday. 

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