Allan Henry - USA Today Sports
Allan Henry - USA Today Sports

Counsell updates Justin Steele's IL injury

by - Senior Editor -

The 'Man of Steele' will be out for a while for the Northsiders.

Chicago Cubs manager Craig Counsell told the media during Saturday's pregame against the Texas Rangers that ace pitcher Justin Steele has a Grade 1 left hamstring strain.

The team expects Steele to miss the month of April and be back sometime in May, as he will need to be stretched out enough before his return.

The injury was not as bad as Counsell first thought.

"Which, frankly as we saw him walking off the field, it's probably better than at least I anticipated," Counsell said . "He's much better today. He played catch today, which is a great sign. He's going to miss the month of April."

The training staff wants Steele to be able to walk without a limp before they put a training plan in place.

Steele had thrown 4.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits and one walk with six strikeouts before departing Thursday’s game with a hamstring ailment.

Steele, 28, was 16-5 with a 3.06 ERA in 30 starts last season, when he finished fifth in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

The 28-year-old was placed on the 15-day injured list today, and they recalled top pitching prospect Ben Brown for some bullpen help if needed tonight.

Counsell said Brown will be "involved in some length or a start at some point but today out of the bullpen."

Brown, 24, appeared in five Spring Training games (two starts) for the Cubs in 2024, going 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA (1 ER/14.0 IP) and 12 strikeouts. Last season, the righthander went 6-8 with a 5.33 ERA (43 ER/72.2 IP) and 100 strikeouts, good for a 31.1-percent strikeout rate, in 22 games (15 starts) with Triple-A Iowa.

Brown opened the 2023 campaign with Double-A Tennessee, allowing just one earned run, 13 hits, and 30 strikeouts in 20.0 innings over four starts before being promoted to the I-Cubs.

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