Kimbrel could be joining Chicago Cubs soon

  • Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein, left, introduces pitcher Craig Kimbrel during a news conference at Wrigley Field, Friday, June 7, 2019 in Chicago. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune via AP)

    Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein, left, introduces pitcher Craig Kimbrel during a news conference at Wrigley Field, Friday, June 7, 2019 in Chicago. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Updated 6/24/2019 8:37 PM

Tuesday night will be an important one for Craig Kimbrel.

The Chicago Cubs' recently signed closer is scheduled to make his fourth appearance for Class AAA Iowa, and it could be his last for the I-Cubs.


Kimbrel signed with the Cubs on June 7, but he needed a "spring training" after not having pitched since last fall's World Series with Boston. If he checks out OK Tuesday, it's possible the Cubs could call him up at the end of this homestand Thursday or for the road trip, which begins Friday at Cincinnati.

"He's feeling really good and doing a nice job of getting himself ready," team president Theo Epstein said Monday. "It's not really about results or velo (velocity) or anything else right now. It's just getting back into the game shape and building that foundation.

"Tuesday is an important checkpoint for us to see how he's feeling. We'll get together with him and make a call after that game and see what direction we go. There's certainly a chance toward the very end of this homestand or early on the next road trip that we could be seeing him."

In 2⅔ innings at Iowa, Kimbrel has given up 2 hits and 1 run (on a home run). He has walked one and struck out two.

Injury updates:

Theo Epstein said starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (shoulder inflammation) lightly threw 15 pitches off the mound and felt good. Hendricks could throw a bullpen session later this week, and a return sometime near the all-star break is a possibility, said Epstein.

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Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. (left thoracic strain) played catch from about 120 feet in the outfield. Epstein said he's "a few days" from throwing a side session. If that goes well, the Cubs will talk about possibly starting a rehab stint.

Brandon Morrow (elbow) threw two side sessions recently in Arizona. He will throw another Tuesday.

"We'll keep it going slow with him, but it's certainly good news that he's up off a mound and feeling really good with his side work," Epstein said.

Shortstop Nico Hoerner (hand), last year's first-round draft pick, has resumed baseball activities in Arizona, and he has a chance to get into rehab games later this week.

Dealing with the media:

In the wake of New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway taking off in a profane manner at a Mets beat writer after Sunday's game at Wrigley Field, Cubs manager Joe Maddon asked if he ever had "a Callaway moment."


"I hate this, but 1982 in Medford, Oregon, I came unglued a little bit," he said. "We gave up 21 or 22 runs in a game. Mike Rizzo (now the Nationals GM) was involved in that. Riz was playing first base, had a bad day. And he wasn't normally a first baseman. After the game, the writer really chopped up an A-ball group, a rookie-ball group, and I didn't like it. So I said something to him. And then I got a call from the league president.

"Mr. Bob Freitas was the league president at that time and he told me I can't do those kinds of things. So that was the last time I did."

Maddon has enjoyed a good relationship with the Chicago media.

"I'm never adversarial," he said. "I never feel that way. There are sometimes when people take -- what do you call it? -- a shot. But I don't think so.

"You're doing your job. You guys are doing your job. Sometimes I may not like what's been written, but that doesn't matter. It shouldn't matter. If I feel really strongly convicted and confident in what I'm saying and what I'm doing, it really shouldn't bother me."


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