The Chicago Cubs (78-69) have faltered a bit lately, losing five of their last seven games. They are still in prime playoff position, though. And now, the club might even have the necessary ammunition to sneak past the Milwaukee Brewers (82-64) in the National League Central.

Marcus Stroman, who has been out since the end of July with a right rib cage cartilage fracture, has been activated off the injured list, according to the Chicago Tribune's Meghan Montemurro. He will rejoin the MLB roster in time for a three-game set versus the Arizona Diamondbacks (76-72), one of the squads chasing the Cubs in the NL Wild Card race. Reliever Daniel Palencia will head to Triple-A Iowa to complete the transaction.

Stroman returning to the team before the end of the regular season was not always a certainty. There was no official timetable given when he first incurred the injury. Manager David Ross now regains crucial pitching depth. Actually, that is an unfair statement to make. If healthy, the two-time All-Star can be a force at the top end of the starting rotation.

He was for the first half of the year, before suffering through a dismal July (9.11 ERA in six starts). Assuming Stroman is fully recovered, though, fans will expect production more in line with his Cy Young-caliber first three months of the season. The 32-year-old righty can give Chicago a formidable trio with breakout Justin Steele and the rejuvenated Kyle Hendricks.

When considering the other components in place on this team, the Cubs might be a dark horse to run the NL gauntlet. But it will likely take the best version of Marcus Stroman to make that happen. His return is a good first step. This reloaded group looks to rectify last weekend's D-backs' sweep, starting Friday at 9:40 p.m. ET.