UPDATE: According to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com, Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode and Double-A Tennessee pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn are also expected to be considered. For what it’s worth, Levine pegs Riggins as the favorite.
7:35 PM: Now that Larry Rothschild is the new pitching coach for the Yankees, Greg Maddux is the obvious sentimental choice among Cubs’ fans as a potential replacement. Just don’t expect it to actually happen.
Both Carrie Muskat of MLB.com and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune report that Maddux, who currently works as an assistant to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, is not considered a candidate. According to Sullivan, Maddux is not looking to get into a full-time coaching position at the moment.
With Maddux out as a possibility, Sullivan writes that minor league pitching coordinator Mark Riggins is “a leading candidate.” Riggins was credited was the development of 2008 first-round pick Andrew Cashner, who posted a 4.80 ERA and 50/30 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 innings with the Cubs this past season. Muskat reports that Triple-A Iowa pitching coach Mike Mason is another possibility.
Hendry said that he hopes to have a new pitching coach in place shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.