Jon Lester left Monday’s Cubs home opener in the third inning with a hamstring issue, and now he’s going to spend some time on the 10-day injured list. The IL stint is retroactive to Tuesday. Fortunately, with some off days upcoming, Lester might miss only one start. In the meantime, the Cubs will have an additional bullpen arm:
The Cubs are calling up lefty Tim Collins to take Jon Lester's (hamstring) place on the roster, according to a source. Collins was signed very late in the spring after spending time with the Nationals last year. He had back-to-back Tommy John surgeries... https://t.co/3Q7b34wCN6— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) April 10, 2019
Tim Collins had four pretty good years for the Royals (2011-14), including pitching for them in the World Series, before he had two Tommy John surgeries and missed all of 2015-17. He came back last year and pitched in 38 games for the Nationals. The Cubs signed him to a major-league deal worth $950,000 ($100,000 paid by the Twins, who he was with in spring training, as a retention bonus) on March 24.
It should be noted that though Collins has options remaining, as a MLB veteran with more than five years’ worth of service time, he could potentially refuse an option and become a free agent, if the Cubs wanted to send him back to Iowa. The reality is that he probably would not refuse such an assignment. Hopefully he throws well enough in the big leagues that he’ll stick around and this won’t be an issue.
As of now, no one has been named to take what would have been Lester’s next scheduled start, Sunday against the Angels. (In fact, at this writing the Cubs have no probable pitchers listed for that entire series.) It’s possible Tyler Chatwood will start Sunday, or the Cubs could have a “bullpen game,” or they could try the “opener” strategy that some teams are now using. Or in case a game before Sunday is postponed, that turn in the rotation could be skipped entirely.
As always, we await further developments. Hopefully Lester’s hamstring issue is minor and he can make it back to the active roster after the minimum 10 days.