Cubs starter John Lackey doesn’t sound like he’s ready to retire after the 2017 season. The 38-year-old said, “At this point, I think I’m more likely to pitch next year than not pitch. But we’ll see at the end of the season,” CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Lackey is entering the final year of his two-year, $32 million contract. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said, “Never say never,” when asked about Lackey returning for the 2018 season. “That guy’s been defying Father Time for a while.” Hoyer continued, “It’s not a decision that you make right now. But certainly we love having him. I think his edge, his swagger is fantastic for our team. And we’re certainly glad we signed him last winter.”
Last season, Lackey compiled a 3.35 ERA with a 180/53 K/BB ratio in 188 1/3 innings for the Cubs, helping them dominate the NL Central with a 103-58 record. The club, of course, went on to defeat the Indians in seven games in the World Series to end its 108-year championship drought.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.