Although there have been some minor bumps and bruises (and illnesses) throughout the spring, the Cubs have been fairly fortunate, health-wise.
The one notable exception to that, of course, has been reliever Pedro Strop, who, as recently as three days ago, was still a maybe for Opening Day, as he continued to deal with a calf strain.
At the time, Strop, himself, indicated that he could get back into game as soon as this week, and lo and behold:
#Cubs Strop, Morrow, Duensing pitching in Minor League game now in Mesa. It'll be Morrow's 5th spring outing. He says he's ready to go
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 19, 2018
According to Carrie Muskat, Cubs reliever Pedro Strop is currently pitching in a Minor League contest in Mesa, Arizona (along with Brandon Morrow and Brian Duensing, though it’s worth pointing out that Strop is the only one who hasn’t seen any live-game action yet – the other guys are just getting their work in).
As I pointed out in our last conversation about Strop’s calf, he is an extremely important member of the Cubs bullpen, and has been for the past four seasons. Getting him right and healthy for the regular season is a significant priority for the Cubs, even if it means not having him available for Opening Day (and if he had to start the season on the disabled list, that opens up a whole other set of Opening Day roster questions, but we’ll cross that bridge again if/when we get there).
Until we know how this performance went today (i.e. not the results, but how he felt and looked on the mound), we can’t say for sure whether Strop will be ready for the start of the season or not (and even then, setbacks happen), but I’d say his appearance today should leave you cautiously optimistic – especially for a guy who could conceivably be protected in the pen at the start of the season, if necessary, or even start on the DL with a short back-dated stint (if he doesn’t appear in a Cactus League game).
Hopefully we’ll get some postgame comments from Strop and/or some of the coaches and a clearer picture will start to emerge. Until then, this is a so-far-so-good update.
INSTANT UPDATE: As soon as we published, a little more info:
Pedro Strop (calf) pitched in minor league affair just now. Got through it in fine fashion. Sched to throw in Cactus League game this Thursday
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 19, 2018