CHICAGO — Before a big series against one of the teams they’re competing with for a playoff spot, the Cubs got some very good news about one of their starting pitchers.

That’s because Marcus Stroman is one big step closer to a return to the mound.

The 2023 National League All-Star was activated off the 15-day IL as he looks to get back in the rotation to help the Cubs’ push for the playoffs.

He was placed on the list initially with right hip inflammation on August 2, but it was later discovered that he had a right rib cartilage fracture. That put Stroman’s chances for a return before the end of the season in doubt, but the pitcher continues to progress and had a bullpen session this week.

While he’s back on the active roster, there is no word on when he might return to the rotation.

All of that was enough for the Cubs to take him off the IL as the team begins a three-game series with the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. They are one of the teams that are chasing the Cubs in the Wild Card race, as David Ross’ team currently holds onto the second spot.

Stroman endured a rough July before going on the injured list, sporting a 9.11 ERA with a 1-3 record as he began to struggle with the injury. Before that, he was enjoying one of the better stretches of his career, including a 2.17 ERA in June, which earned him his second-career All-Star selection.