The Cubs have a new addition to their bullpen. On Sunday, the team announced that it had recalled left-hander Justin Steele from the South Bend alternate site and placed right-hander James Norwood on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Thursday, with right shoulder inflammation.
"He made an impression on me in Spring Training just with the swings that the hitters took off of him," Cubs manager David Ross said of Steele. "When he's in the zone the ball seems to jump out of his hand. Hitters don't seem to pick it up too much."
Steele, 25, joins a major league roster for the first time in his career. The Cubs drafted him in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He's been in a starter role in South Bend but will be used as a reliever for the Cubs.
"He's been tinkering with his slider in South Bend," Ross said, "and that seems to be playing well. I read those reports about South Bend when they send them in each night. His name kept popping up, of a guy that's trending in the right direction, is competing his tail off in that environment, and we try to reward guys for that around here. We'll give him his first shot at big-league baseball and see how it goes."
Steele started for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies last season, racking up a 5.59 ERA in 11 starts. Early in this shortened season, and with expanded rosters, the Cubs could use anther middle relief option who can throw multiple innings. The team has used 12 different pitchers in relief already this season as the bullpen has stumbled to the worst ERA in Major League Baseball (9.75).
As for Norwood, according to Ross the Cubs medical staff thinks the right-hander is "trending in the right direction."
"I think we just want to be cautious with a big arm like that," Ross said, "and make sure we're not continuing to put him in a situation where he can hurt himself. Let him get back to 100 percent healthy."
Cubs call up left-handed pitcherJustin Steele, place James Norwood on IL originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago