As the snow came down again, and another day of Cubs baseball got blown away in a gust of 20-degree wind chills Monday, the promise of sunshine and warm days seemed as broken as the promise of a fast start for the Cubs this month.

But 1,750 miles away in the 80-plus-degree warmth of Arizona, the promise of real baseball impact for the Cubs persists – a promise of Smyly days, if not actual sunshine, ahead.

Smyly? What? Who?

Drew Smyly might be the forgotten man on the Cubs’ roster as he toils in Mesa, Arizona, this week, but he remains loud and clear on the Cubs’ radar, about to start throwing from the mound in what has been a smooth rehabilitation process from Tommy John surgery.

“That’s the big next step,” said Smyly, who spent the first week of the homestand with teammates before returning to Mesa to continue his throwing program. “It’s been smooth sailing. No setbacks. Now it’s just building up endurance, stamina, strength.”

Fans in Chicago might have a tough time seeing through their frostbitten optimism at a 7-7 team whose touted starting rotation is 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA 14 starts into the year — a team that scored nine runs in the last inning it batted, and seven in its previous 26 combined.

But Smyly has a vision as upbeat as his name.

“The goal is to be ready to help this team in August,” said the left-hander, who sees himself as a late-season, quality acquisition in waiting – maybe even a secret, if not forgotten, weapon when the heat is on.

“That’d be a pretty awesome way to end the year,” he said, “to get back healthy and provide a little boost to the team down the stretch going into hopefully October.”

That was a small part of the plan when the …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun-Times – Sports


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