(CBS) The expectation for Cubs right-hander John Lackey’s first start back from the disabled list Tuesday night was simple, as pitching coach Chris Bosio explained. It was no different than that of any other starter.
Bosio was hoping to see Lackey give the Cubs a chance to win, and that’s exactly what he did. Lackey pitched five innings and allowed one run, earning his sixth victory on the season. The Cubs earned their fifth straight win, 5-1 over the Braves.
But what really caught Bosio was how Lackey managed a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay in Atlanta. He spoke of that with Brian Hanley and Barry Rozner on 670 The Score on Wednesday morning.
“The thing that impressed me the most was how he handled that lengthy rain delay,” Bosio said. “That’s not easy to do on a really warm, muggy night. We had literally no communication at all from (the Braves’) end — grounds crew guys; no phone calls. Everything was done on our end.
“It was a tough night. You have a veteran guy where everything is methodical in his routine. To not really get any updates and know where we’re at, having him get up twice and throw and still go out there and perform the way he did, it’s really a testament to his professionalism and his competitiveness.
“The streak lives. We’re on a little bit of a roll here, and John contributed in a big way yesterday.”
The Cubs have reconfigured their after adding Jose Quintana to the mix and with signs pointing to the return of Kyle Hendricks from the disabled list Monday. Despite an inconsistent season, Lackey will remain in the rotation, with manager Joe Maddon and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein emphasizing there’s never been any thought of sending him to the bullpen. It appears left-hander Mike Montgomery — who started against the Braves on Wednesday — will return to the bullpen once Hendricks is healthy.
Hendricks pitched five shutout innings at Double-A Tennessee on Monday night. Bosio will be happy whenever the Cubs get him back, possibly Monday to face the White Sox.
“Kyle’s a competitor and he wants to get out there,” Bosio said. “It was really important for him to get out there for what I call five or six up-downs, where he’s sitting and going back out.
“He’s got a side today, but all indications are that he’s getting closer to being healthy. The biggest test is to be able to spin the ball more consistently. But I think he’s getting close to being able to start a game, and get out there closer to 100 percent.
“By no means is Kyle back to his form from last year. This is a step in the right direction, getting him back on the mound.”
Listen to Bosio’s full interview below.