Good news from Cubs camp, as a couple critical Cubs relievers have done their thing off the mound, and are tentatively feeling good.
For Pedro Strop, he pitched off the mound today to test out his mildly strained hamstring, and things went sufficiently well that if you were a crazy person and decided to be optimistic, you could see a timeline that would have Strop ready to go in time for Opening Day:
Strop felt fine after bullpen session, scheduled for one more pen before pitching in game (likely minor league game). Team remains very cautious
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 19, 2019
Part of the caution here is that the Cubs could pretty easily give Strop just a few extra days by holding him out of Cactus League games the rest of the way. Then, they’d be able to backdate any Injured List stay when the season opens, and he could effectively come back for game two or game three or whatever. You don’t want Strop to miss any time, mind you, but if he’s at a spot where he needs one more simulated game appearance or whatever to be ready, it’s nice to be able to give it to him without having to sacrifice him to the IL gods for a full 10 days.
Strop’s back-of-the-bullpen-mate Brandon Morrow pitched off the mound yesterday for the first time since his November elbow surgery, and all seemed to go well. But when a guy is in that rehab process, you really want to hear that he still feels good the *next* day.
#Cubs Morrow on track after 20-pitch session off mound on Monday. "There's nothing to report other than I felt great. It was just like a normal bullpen. I felt in rhythm mechanically after a few pitches. It was all good."
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 19, 2019
Nothing to report is exactly what I want to hear from Morrow at this stage. As for his return schedule:
Forgot to mention on radio, Brandon Morrow doing well after his bullpen session yesterday. He guesstimates 6 bullpens, some simulated action and then a rehab assignment.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 19, 2019
Obviously there’s a whole lot of play in there, but you’d be looking at a pretty typical spring ramp-up of about four weeks. That could have him ready and back well before April ends, but I think the abundance of caution, given his rehab and injury history, will still have him out until May. That’s where I’m keeping my head anyway.