Cubs pitcher John Lackey on track for Tuesday return

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher John Lackey throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

Placed on the 10-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his right foot on July 6, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher John Lackey had an important bullpen session Saturday. According to Jessie Rogers of ESPN.com, the session went well, putting Lackey in line to make his return to the rotation Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves.

Jon Lester, who had a rough outing in the Cubs’ final game before the All-Star break, will start Monday’s series opener per the report.

In 17 starts this season, Lackey has a 5-9 record with a 5.20 ERA in 98.2 innings pitched. Lackey last pitched on July 5, one day before being placed on the disabled list, allowing three runs on six hits in six innings of work against the Tampa Bay Rays. Striking out three, Lackey was not the pitcher of record in the Cubs’ 7-3 win over the Rays.

While Lackey’s had an ERA of 5.00 or worse in each of the first three completed months of the season, June was particularly rough for him. Lackey was 1-4 with a 5.35 ERA in six starts, allowing 22 runs on 31 hits in 35.1 innings pitched.

As for Lester, the hope is that the extra time off will benefit him as the Cubs look to chase down the Brewers in the NL Central. Lester’s 5-6 with a 4.25 ERA in 108 innings spread out over 19 starts this season. In his most recent start Lester allowed ten runs, four being earned, on six hits in two-thirds of an inning in a 14-3 loss to the Pirates on July 9, walking three batters and allowing two home runs.

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