Lackey 'doing well,' has return in sight

Veteran on disabled list with right shoulder strain

Lackey 'doing well,' has return in sight

LOS ANGELES -- John Lackey will throw a bullpen session on Monday and will need at least one more side session before he will be inserted back into the Cubs' rotation. Lackey is on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, and could be ready by the end of the next homestand or the start of the club's next road trip on Sept. 5 against the Brewers.

"He's doing well," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the right-hander.

Would the Cubs consider a six-man rotation to give everyone a built-in breather? Maddon said he's not opposed to that.

"To do anything we possibly can to conserve our arms at the end of the year I think is important," Maddon said. "The biggest trick is to get the sixth guy who you like. Most teams are clamoring to get four or five."

Lefty Mike Montgomery has done well in Lackey's spot in the rotation, and he will make his third start for the Cubs on Wednesday against the Pirates.

Worth noting

• Last Aug. 30, Jake Arrieta threw his first career no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, and the Cubs followed that game with their first onesie trip as players wore pajamas on the flight back to Chicago. Sunday is the second pajama party for the Cubs, and Maddon was impressed to see everyone buying into it, including Lackey, who wore his onesie on the team bus to the ballpark. Aroldis Chapman was trying on a bright blue onesie prior to the game to make sure it fit.

"I love that they buy into those moments," Maddon said. "Overall, I think we've sustained the momentum and we've created our own little culture in the clubhouse. Everybody knows they're there to be themselves. They don't have to worry about dress codes and [report] times at the ballpark and things like that which get in the way of preparing the way you like to."

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.