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Chicago Cubs

Cubs notes: Jon Lester may return to start Thursday vs. Dodgers

Cubs starter Jon Lester pitches against the Oakland Athletics in a spring training game March 13 in Mesa, Ariz. Lester may return from a hamstring injury to pitch Thursday against the Dodgers.
Cubs starter Jon Lester pitches against the Oakland Athletics in a spring training game March 13 in Mesa, Ariz. Lester may return from a hamstring injury to pitch Thursday against the Dodgers.

CHICAGO – The Cubs have not listed a starting pitcher for Thursday’s series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field, but it could be Jon Lester.

“Thursday is still open,” manager Joe Maddon said Sunday.

Lester threw a simulated game Saturday, and the next step is a bullpen session, pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. Lester is on the mend from a strained left hamstring, suffered while running the bases during the April 8 home opener.

“He’s looking good,” Hottovy said. “We’re still taking it day to day to make sure there’s no setbacks, that he’s recovering the way he wants to recover and that everything’s on track. He’s such a tough guy and competitor that he wants to be out there as soon as he can.

“We’ve got a couple more days to make sure he gets through the bullpen [session] and gets through all the things that he wants to do, and, hopefully, we’ll see him real soon.”

Montgomery getting closer: Lefty Mike Montgomery will make a rehab start Monday for Double-A Tennessee. Montgomery has been on the injured list since April 5 with a left lat strain. He made his first rehab appearance for Class A South Bend, pitching two innings and giving up one hit while striking out four.

“I feel good,” he said. “I’m getting ready to get out of here. I felt really good after my last outing, kind of even better the last couple days.

“It was just a change, adjusting some of the things I do better now, workoutwise, just to kind of get me feeling right. I think the last couple of days have been very good for me. We’ll see how this outing goes.

“I’m excited to be out there. I’m going to go pitch.”

Roster move: The Cubs optioned left-handed reliever Randy Rosario to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday and recalled righty Alec Mills. Part of the thinking was to have Mills ready to back up starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood on Sunday, but Chatwood pitched six shutout innings.

Mills, 27, made seven appearances (two starts) for the Cubs last season, going 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA. He spent most of last year with Iowa, going 5-12 with a 4.84 ERA in 23 starts.

Rosario was 0-0 with a 5.14 ERA in seven relief appearances this year.

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