The Cubs placed left-hander Justin Steele on the 15-day injured list due to a left forearm strain. The placement is retroactive to June 1. Taking Steele’s spot on the active roster is catcher Miguel Amaya, who was called up from Triple-A Iowa.
As detailed in reports earlier today, the MRI on Steele’s forearm revealed no structural damage, leaving even some possibility that Steele might miss a start but avoid doing on the injured list altogether. However, it appears as though the Cubs have decided to err on the side of caution, which is understandable given the larger-scale injuries that can be associated with forearm problems. For now, it would seem possible that Steele might be able to return after the minimum 15 days, making this IL stint perhaps just a blip in what has been an otherwise excellent season for the 27-year-old southpaw.
Steele has a 2.65 ERA over 12 starts and 68 innings, along with a strong 5.9% walk rate and an elite 28% hard-hit ball rate. Steele’s 21.4% strikeout rate is well below average, but his ability to both keep the ball on the ground (48.4% grounder rate) and induce soft contact has been a winning recipe for success, and even a step up from his quality numbers in 2021-22.
The forearm problem arose during Steele’s start on Wednesday, as he was perfect over three innings against the Pirates before being removed from the game. Hayden Wesneski is slated to take Steele’s spot in the rotation, and Wesneski is scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Angels.
Amaya made his MLB debut by playing in six games for Chicago earlier this season, and the former top-100 prospect will now get another look at the big league level. With Yan Gomes and Tucker Barnhart taking up the catching duties, it remains to be seen how much playing time Amaya might get during this latest stint in the Show, and it might end up being a relatively brief stay until the Cubs feel the need to call up a fresh arm.