Cubs Place Justin Steele on IL, Promote Ben Brown

I’m keeping this short because I’m in an Uber from the TCU/Houston game in Fort Worth to the Cubs/Rangers game in Arlington. See below for the official press release, but the key points are that the Cubs have placed Justin Steele on the 15-day IL and promoted Ben Brown to fill the void on the pitching staff. The rookie is available out of the bullpen on Saturday and will provide “bulk” over the next few weeks.

Brown looked great in spring training after ditching the sweeper to focus on a death ball curve as his breaking ball. He also throws a mid-90s four-seam and a change. The big righty will wear No. 32 in honor of the late Roy Halladay, who worked with Brown as a mental skills coach during his time in the Phillies organization.

Craig Counsell told reporters it’s a Grade 1 hamstring strain for Steele, who is expected to be out all of April. The trainers will wait until the lefty can walk without a limp before establishing a plan and firmer timeline for his return.

The Chicago Cubs today placed left-handed pitcher Justin Steele on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to March 29) with a left hamstring strain and recalled right-handed pitcher Ben Brown from Triple-A Iowa.

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 striking out 30 batters in 20.0 innings of work over four starts before being promoted to the I-Cubs.

The six-foot six-inch Brown made his professional debut in 2017 with the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Phillies. He is 19-17 with one complete game, a 3.67 ERA (121 ER/297.0), 1.28 WHIP and a 3.01 strikeouts per walk rate (391 SO/130 BB) in 82 minor league games, including 56 starts with the Phillies (2017-2022) and Cubs organizations.

Selected by the Phillies in the 33rd round of the 2017 draft out of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N.Y., Brown was acquired by the Cubs on August 2, 2022, for right-handed pitcher David Robertson.

Steele, 28, had thrown 4.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits and one walk with six strikeouts before departing Thursday’s game with the hamstring ailment.

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