Cubs scratch RHP Marcus Stroman, put him on IL

Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs have scratched Marcus Stroman for Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, putting the right-hander on the injured list without a designation.

The move likely means Stroman’s absence is connected to a COVID-19-related issue.

Stroman pitched seven sparkling innings in a 2-0 victory at Milwaukee last weekend. He is 1-3 with a 5.13 ERA in his first season in Chicago after finalizing a $71 million, three-year contract on Dec. 1.

Justin Steele replaced Stroman against the Dodgers, making his first appearance since April 30. Steele was slated to pitch Monday night at San Diego, but Kyle Hendricks will make that start against the Padres instead.

The Cubs also optioned struggling first baseman Frank Schwindel to Triple-A Iowa and promoted right-hander Adrian Sampson from the minors. Sampson went 1-2 with a 2.80 ERA in 10 appearances with Chicago last year, including five starts.

The 29-year-old Schwindel was a bright spot for the Cubs last year, batting .342 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs in 56 games after he was claimed off waivers from Oakland. But he has struggled of late, hitting .186 (13 for 70) over his last 19 games.

“Somebody that we believe in, but need him to kind of get going a little bit,” manager David Ross said. “Get down there, work on some things, take a little bit of the pressure off, and let him continue to get back to what we expect him to be and what he expects himself to be.”