Hammel expected to make next start

Hammel expected to make next start

CHICAGO -- Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel, who had to leave Monday's start after two innings because of cramping in his right hamstring, is expected to make his next start, on Saturday against the D-backs.

Manager Joe Maddon said on Tuesday that he had not gotten a negative report from athletic trainer PJ Mainville and expects Hammel to be available. Hammel ranks fourth in the National League with a 2.09 ERA.

"Hearing nothing [from the athletic trainer], I would imagine it's nothing," Maddon said.

If Hammel isn't available, the options include right-hander Trevor Cahill or lefty Travis Wood, who took over on Monday and threw four perfect innings in relief against the Dodgers.

Wood's four perfect innings

Worth noting

Dexter Fowler, who did not play on Monday because of a sore right heel, sent Maddon a text on Tuesday to say he was ready for the game. Fowler has apparently been bothered by the foot problem for some time but has been able to manage it.

• In the eighth inning on Monday, the Dodgers' Yasmani Grandal was upset when Cubs reliever Pedro Strop threw a pitch before the batter was set. The move is one of Strop's weapons.

"[The quick pitch] is legal. I'm not doing anything illegal," Strop said. "I don't get mad when [the hitter] bunts. It's part of the game."

It's also part of Strop's repertoire, and he can do it with his slider, fastball or sinker. He said that a lot of pitchers will use the technique when there are runners on base in an effort to control the running game. Strop doesn't care if hitters are upset.

"They want to be comfortable," he said. "I don't want them comfortable."

• Right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez, who was designated for assignment on May 21, was claimed by the Brewers on Tuesday.

"Great kid, outstanding," Maddon said. "He fit in here really well. If he's able to maintain good health and opportunities, he'll be able to pitch well. He's got a great arm. He's got a wipeout slider. With good health, this guy can be very good, and I wish him nothing but the best. If he stays well, he'll pitch well."

Ramirez was limited to 19 games in 2015 because of shoulder problems and appeared in eight games with the Cubs this season.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.