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Keegan Thompson’s Injury Spurs Cubs to Call Up Jorge Lopez and Ethan Roberts

Keegan Thompson Injury

The Cubs face a bullpen shuffle as Keegan Thompson goes on the IL with a rib fracture. Ethan Roberts and Jorge Lopez are called up, while Vinny Nittoli is DFA’d.

Key Takeaways
  • Keegan Thompson is placed on the Injured List with a right rib fracture.
  • Ethan Roberts is recalled to the Cubs, making a notable comeback after Tommy John surgery.
  • Jorge Lopez joins the Cubs’ bullpen amidst controversy as Vinny Nittoli is designated for assignment.

Keegan Thompson Heads to IL

Keegan Thompson has thrown 5.1 scoreless innings in a row with just one hit and seven strikeouts despite allowing four walks during this stretch.

Unfortunately, Thompson is now headed to the Injured List (IL) due to a right rib fracture retroactive to June 27.

Cubs manager Craig Counsell shared that Thompson felt a “click” in his ribs during post-outing shoulder maintenance work, which led to the injury.

Thompson, 29, has been a solid performer for the Cubs this season, posting a 3.50 ERA with 26 strikeouts against 10 walks in 18 innings across 13 appearances. The timeline for his return remains uncertain, leaving a gap in the Cubs’ bullpen.

To fill this vacancy, the Cubs are recalling Ethan Roberts. Roberts, now 26, was the last baseball player to make the Cubs roster out of Spring Training in 2022. However, an arm injury early in the season required Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss all of 2023.

The Cubs non-tendered Roberts in the offseason but re-signed him to a minor league deal. This season, Roberts has pitched 15 innings at Triple-A Iowa, striking out 18 batters and allowing zero earned runs. The Cubs hope he can continue this impressive performance in the major leagues.

Cubs Bolster Bullpen with Jorge López Amidst Controversy

In addition to Roberts, the Cubs are also calling up right-handed reliever Jorge Lopez. The move comes after Lopez’s controversial stint with the Mets, which ended with him being designated for assignment.

Lopez had stirred league-wide controversy by throwing his glove into the stands following an ejection and making confusing comments about his performance and the Mets.

Lopez, 31, has appeared in 28 games for the Mets this season, holding a 3.76 ERA over 26.1 innings pitched, with 19 strikeouts and 11 walks.

Despite the controversy, the Cubs see potential in Lopez and hope he can strengthen their bullpen.

To make room for Lopez on the active and 40-man roster, the Cubs have designated Vinny Nittoli for assignment. Nittoli, who was signed just the day before, did not get a chance to pitch for the Cubs.

The decision to DFA him so quickly suggests the Cubs prioritized having immediate bullpen availability for their weekend series against the Giants. If Nittoli clears waivers, he may become a free agent or potentially accept an assignment to Triple-A Iowa.

Cubs Bullpen Faces Problems Amidst Unpredictable Season

The Cubs’ bullpen shows the tough season they’ve had with injuries and roster changes. Thompson’s injury and the quick roster changes show how unpredictable baseball can be.

The Cubs are looking for stability and strong performances from their bullpen as they deal with these challenges.

Roberts’ return to the major leagues after a long recovery is a positive story in the middle of the chaos. Likewise, Lopez’s controversial past adds an interesting twist to the Cubs’ bullpen.

As the season goes on, the Cubs will need everyone to step up to stay competitive.