Cubs activate Marcus Stroman, plan bullpen use for playoff push

Chicago Cubs All-Star Marcus Stroman was activated from the 15-day injured list and delivered two scoreless innings of relief in a 6-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday in a showdown of National League wild-card contenders.

The Cubs are hoping Stroman can help the bullpen as the team makes a playoff push during the final two weeks of the regular season.

The 32-year-old right-hander had been out for about six weeks with right hip inflammation. He had a 10-8 record and a 3.85 ERA in 23 starts this season, but manager David Ross said Stroman will be in the bullpen for the time being.

"Marcus has a proven track record, and getting him back was an important step," Ross said. "He's on a journey to try and build back up, but right now, he'll help us out in the bullpen. Then we'll read and react to see how everything goes these last couple weeks."

The Cubs are in the midst of a six-team dogfight for the NL's three wild-card spots. Arizona moved into a tie with the Cincinnati Reds for the final spot, while the Cubs are in the second position, 1½ games in front of the Diamondbacks and Reds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.