Hammel ready to go after successful side session

Right-hander scheduled to start Tuesday vs. Reds

Hammel ready to go after successful side session

ATLANTA -- Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel, who had to come out of his last start July 8 because of a strained hamstring, threw a regular side session on Saturday, and said he will be ready to go on Tuesday at Cincinnati.

"I've had plenty of days off," Hammel said. "I felt pretty strong, good enough to get a workout in."

He threw 12 pitches in the first inning of his last outing before exiting because of the discomfort in his leg. The right-hander said he'll wear a brace on his left leg as a precautionary measure. Saturday's session was encouraging.

"It's probably as close to normal as it could've been," Hammel said.

• Manager Joe Maddon knows Kyle Schwarber feels he can handle catching anyone in the Cubs' rotation, and was still debating whether the rookie would handle Jake Arrieta on Sunday against the Braves. Schwarber, 22, started his first game behind the plate on Friday.

"My first impression was to not [start] him [on Sunday]," Maddon said. "We'll see."

Veteran David Ross was matched up with Jon Lester on Saturday. Arrieta is difficult to catch because of the movement on his pitches. Schwarber is getting a crash course during side sessions. On Saturday, he caught Hammel in the bullpen.

"You have to make decisions based on your experience, what you're seeing and the experience level of the player," Maddon said. "It's about what's best for us and for him. You cannot forget this guy is still being developed, he's being developed at the Major League level. I thought he had a wonderful day [Friday], and we'll keep trying to make him continue to have wonderful days without pushing him too hard."

• Left-hander Zac Rosscup, on the disabled list since June 17 with inflammation in his shoulder, has made one rehab start for the Cubs' Rookie League team in Arizona, and most likely will move up in the system for his next outing.

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.