‘Pen gets boost as Winkler, Workman return

CHICAGO — The Cubs’ bullpen returned closer to its Opening Day alignment on Saturday, when right-handers Dan Winkler and Brandon Workman were both reinstated from the injured list.

While Winkler and Workman were away for the past five days — placed on MLB’s COVID-19 related IL out of caution — the Cubs did get to look at a few other arms. That included veteran Pedro Strop and Justin Steele, who were both sent back to the alternate training site in South Bend, Ind., on Saturday.

“I was impressed with both those guys as they came up here,” Cubs manager David Ross said prior to Saturday’s game against the Braves. “They stayed sharp since Spring Training.”

Ross knows what he has in the 35-year-old Strop, who has a 2.88 ERA in 413 career games with the Cubs, including 38 with his current manager behind the plate as his former catcher. This was a chance for Chicago to see how Strop looked against MLB hitters following an injury-marred 2020 season.

“He continues to be a guy I trust,” said Ross, who added that Strop did not look his “sharpest” in Friday’s inning. “He’s somebody who handles the moment. Even when he doesn’t have his good stuff, he’s a guy that can get outs.”

In contrast to Strop’s wealth of experience, the 25-year-old Steele was getting his first taste of the big leagues.

In three outings, the lefty struck out four and walked…

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Jordan Bastian

Jordan Bastian

MLB - Cubs

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