New Cubs closer Kimbrel throws bullpen session, now heads to Arizona

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Closer Craig Kimbrel delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during a 2018 game. The new Cubs closer Kimbrel threw a bullpen session Saturday. He next heads to Arizona to get into game shape.

    Closer Craig Kimbrel delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during a 2018 game. The new Cubs closer Kimbrel threw a bullpen session Saturday. He next heads to Arizona to get into game shape. Associated Press File Photo

 
 

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he didn't see it. Perhaps he heard it.

Newly signed closer Craig Kimbrel threw a bullpen session Saturday before he got set to head out to Arizona for a "condensed spring training."

"I'm sure that loud booming sound you heard was somebody's mitt pounding out there," Maddon said. "Everything's been good. You saw him (Friday). You heard him. I was really impressed with his way. We'll just get him out there, get him ready and get him on back and see how it plays out."

Kimbrel will spend time at the Cubs' facility in Mesa before going to Class AAA Iowa on an option assignment as he works himself into game shape. He signed a three-year, $43 million deal with the Cubs this past week, but he has not pitched since helping the Boston Red Sox win the World Series last fall.

The Cubs will be patient.

"If you don't (have patience), you might not get what you were looking for in the first place," Maddon said. "You have to be patient. The guy's not been competing. He's not been pitching to hitters with any kind of regularity. You're setting yourself up for the fall if you try to do it too quickly. We've got him for the rest of this year and hopefully deeply into the playoffs again.

"But you also have him for two more years. You have to be really mindful of all that. To me, it's easy. That's the way it should be. I don't even know exactly where the timetable's going to conclude at, but be patient. He'll let you know. And the people that are watching him will let you know."

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Russell ailing:

Infielder Addison Russell entered Saturday having not played since this past Tuesday's 6-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

"He hurt his (right) hand the other day sliding," said Joe Maddon. "He kind of bruised his hand around the thumb area. We're taking it very slowly. He's good. He's actually feeling really good right now. I got to see where he's at. He as able to go into the game (Friday), but I did not want to force it. Today I'm certain he's going to tell me how great he feels."

Russell originally scheduled to start in Wednesday's game against the Rockies. Because he was hurt, David Bote started instead and went 4-for-4 with a homer and 7 RBI.

That's getting it done:

Including his 8 scoreless innings Friday against the Cardinals, lefty Cole Hamels has an 0.41 ERA (1 earned run in 22 innings) in 3 starts against the Cardinals in a Cubs uniform. According to STATS, Inc., the last pitcher to have a lower ERA against St. Louis in his first 3 starts with the Cubs was Lefty Tyler (0.32) in 1918.

Top pick in fold:

The Cubs have agreed to terms with their first-round draft pick, right-handed pitcher Ryan Jensen from Fresno State. The team did not comment Saturday as Jensen must pass a physical. He receives a reported $2 million bonus to sign. The slot money for the 27th pick overall was $2.57 million.

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