Cubs relief pitcher and former dominant closer Brandon Morrow has completed two bullpen sessions off of a mound without any notable issues. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com broke the news yesterday afternoon:
This is surprising news because the Cubs’ front office has been very quiet about Morrow’s progression throughout his rehab. Most Cubs fans have written Morrow off from returning to the Cubs bullpen this season. It felt like even the front office wrote him off after the signing of Craig Kimbrel.
While it is a positive sign he has thrown off a mound twice without any issues, Morrow is still a long way away from a rehab assignment, let alone returning to the Cubs bullpen. With the considerable amount of setbacks he has had both this and last season with his rehab, the front office will take his progression as slow as humanly possible. I would expect him in the Cubs bullpen in early to mid-August at the very earliest if he returns at all.
While the above paragraph is a word of caution to Cubs fans, this is something to be excited about. Morrow was one of the best closers in all of baseball after the first half of last season before he went down with an arm injury. In 30.2 innings pitched, he accumulated a 1.47 ERA with 22 saves and a 92% save percentage (Source: baseball-reference.com). While nobody in their right mind should expect those types of numbers after not pitching for a full calendar year, having Morrow and Steve Cishek as the seventh inning guys before Pedro Strop and Kimbrel in the eighth and ninth is lethal. If all of those arms are fully healthy, that is one of the best bullpens in baseball. Hope is still alive for Morrow’s return to the Cubs.
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