An optioned player cannot return to the big league team for 10 days unless he’s replacing an injured player going to the disabled list. We say that one a lot, and we’ve said it quite a bit more after reliever Justin Grimm, who was riding a 10-game scoreless streak, was sent to the minors when the Cubs had a roster crunch.

There’s a very small additional caveat there that you hope never comes up, but it has:

Best wishes to Jason Hammel and his family, and if he had something weighing on his mind, it makes his performance last night all the more impressive. Hopefully everything works out. The bereavement list is for a minimum of three days, and a maximum of seven days. With an off-day tomorrow, it’s unlikely that Hammel will miss a start.

As for Grimm, he’ll be back with the big league team – now featuring a nine-man bullpen – at least until Hammel returns. At that point (or a few days later, when his 10-day window is up), the Cubs will have to make a decision about how they want to construct the bullpen for the rest of August (absent another injury).

Having added Joe Smith, the picture for Grimm’s return is a bit more complicated. Sometimes, though, these things work themselves out. At a minimum, Grimm can return on September 1, when the big league roster expands to include anyone on the 40-man roster.




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