Cubs pitching coach sees hope in Kimbrel's bad outing

  • Chicago Cubs pitcher Craig Kimbrel walks on the field during team baseball practice at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Wednesday, July 8, 2020.

    Chicago Cubs pitcher Craig Kimbrel walks on the field during team baseball practice at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Associated Press

Updated 7/29/2020 6:04 PM

Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy saw encouraging signs in Craig Kimbrel's outing against the Reds on Monday, even if the results were miserable.

Making his first appearance of the season, Kimbrel faced six batters, recording one out, 4 walks and a hit batsman. Jeremy Jeffress came in to salvage the save.


"There were a lot of encouraging things," Hottovy said of Kimbrel. "I know he was frustrated, obviously, with how the results were. The things we're working on were translating, though, at least in terms of like seeing the stuff kind of tick up. I think mechanically he was doing things we wanted to do."

Like manager David Ross, Hottovy pointed out how Kimbrel hadn't pitched in a week, going back to the second exhibition game, and this is still early in the season without the typical spring training.

"He had a ton of adrenaline," Hottovy said. "He was amped up. He was getting down the mound way further than he normally would. Even the best of the best in this game have trouble at times making that adjustment.

"If we're midseason form and he has 20 games under his belt, he probably has the ability to make that adjustment within 3 or 4 pitches. We're just not there right now. We're trying to figure this out on the fly."

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Bryant returns:

Kris Bryant was back in the lineup on Wednesday against the Reds after sitting out a game due to an elbow issue.

"We're staying on top of it," manager David Ross said. "I think the elbow felt a little bit better. It's something we'll probably have to manage a little bit and make sure he's good on a daily basis. That's one of those things that is part of just about every swing, so you've got to make sure that thing doesn't flare up and get too aggravated."

When he has played this season, Bryant has been leading off. He's seeing a lot of pitches, but is just 1-for-17 at the plate so far.

Quintana takes mound:

Pitcher Jose Quintana threw his first bullpen session since having surgery to repair a lacerated left thumb. And pitching coach Tommy Hottovy was there to watch, sort of.

"I face-timed in, so I got to watch the bullpen this morning," Hottovy said before Wednesday's game. "It was good, he looked good. Threw 28 pitches, was able to work on everything. Threw some breaking balls and some change-ups.

"I'm not really concerned with him physically. Arm-wise, body-wise, I think he was in a really good place coming into that summer camp."


Hottovy suggested the next step would be to throw a "live inning," where Quintana would do his normal warm up, then throw with batters standing in the box, likely on Saturday. Then he'd begin a regular schedule and try to get ramped up for a return to action.

Cubs create own noise:

With no fans in the seats, the Cubs' dugout and bullpen have sounded like a high school softball team at times, with lots of chatter and cheering. It was suggested to manager David Ross his players are acting like children.

"I would say adults that bought into this environment and are trying to make the best of a tough situation," Ross said. "I think the most rewarding thing I've seen so far is each guy to a man is trying to make the best of this.

"We rely on so much energy from fans. The fact that they're picking each other up in that respect, guys are pointing to the bullpen when they get big hits. It really feels like a group that cares about one another and has each other's back. It's really nice."


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