Hammel expected to avoid DL, rejoin rotation

After exiting last outing with hamstring pain, Cubs righty set to start following break

Hammel expected to avoid DL, rejoin rotation

CHICAGO -- An MRI on Jason Hammel's left hamstring did not reveal anything wrong, and the Cubs right-hander is expected to avoid going on the disabled list. Manager Joe Maddon said Hammel will likely be the fifth starter in the rotation after the All-Star break to give him enough time to rehab.

Hammel had to leave Wednesday's start against the Cardinals in the first inning because of pain in his hamstring after throwing 12 pitches. He had the MRI on Thursday.

"It's the best-case scenario," Hammel said of the MRI results. "It was good pictures, nothing terrible. I hope not to miss any time. As of now, the outlook is good."

The right-hander treated his leg all day Thursday and Friday, and he was able to ride a stationary bike.

"As long as it keeps progressing as is, we'll be good to go," Hammel said.

Hammel leaves the game

Even though Hammel is good to go, the scare of losing him may prompt the Cubs to be more active in their search for another starting pitcher prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"We know that will be our focus at the Deadline to try to add depth," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Friday. "It makes you realize every team, every pitcher can go down at any time."

The Cubs did get a solid outing from Dallas Beeler, who was called up for last Tuesday's doubleheader against the Cardinals, and Clayton Richard, who was acquired from the Pirates, did well in his only start this season against the Marlins.

"We've made a lot of phone calls like everyone has," Hoyer said. "I don't think things have kicked off yet for the trade market. The American League is so jumbled up, I don't think teams have 'declared' themselves yet, if you will."

• Catcher David Ross was eligible to come off the seven-day concussion disabled list on Friday, but the Cubs will wait until after the All-Star break to give him more time.

"The headache has been gone for four days," Ross said Friday. "No symptoms coming up, things are going right. ... I think the extra three days [during the break] would probably just be smart."

With Ross sidelined, Miguel Montero is scheduled to catch Jon Lester on Saturday. Ross had been matched up with the left-hander in every start except his last one on Monday, and in that game against the Cardinals, he threw six no-hit innings.

Zac Rosscup, on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, threw to hitters in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday as part of his rehab. Javier Baez, sidelined with a broken finger, and Tommy La Stella, on the DL with a strained right oblique, were both slated to do some baseball activity. All three are rehabbing at the Cubs' complex in Mesa.

Olt exits after being plunked

• Mike Olt (fractured right wrist) was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Iowa. To make room on the Cubs' 40-man roster, pitcher Donn Roach was designated for assignment.

Olt was the Cubs' Opening Day third baseman, but with Kris Bryant's emergence, it's hard to see a fit for him on the team. Expect Olt to play some outfield at Iowa.

"He's still a really good player, and he happens to have an All-Star in front of him right now," Hoyer said. "You have to have depth with any team, and I think [Olt] is a good right-handed power bat."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.