Cubs Closer Brandon Morrow to Undergo Additional Tests As He Continues to Rehab

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Cubs Closer Brandon Morrow to Undergo Additional Tests As He Continues to Rehab

Chicago Cubs

Although Javy Baez would get my individual MVP vote for the Cubs so far this year, there’s no question in my mind that, as a collective, the team’s bullpen has been even more worthy.

When you consider how disappointing the rotation has been (until very recently), and also how short their outings have been, this group has had to cover a whole lot of critical innings for the Cubs. And they’ve done it with aplomb: their 3.19 ERA is the fourth best in baseball (second best in the NL, behind only the Diamondbacks at 3.12), and they’ve covered more innings than any of the three teams ahead of them.

All the more impressive? They’ve been doing it for over a month now without their closer.

Brandon Morrow (biceps, bone bruise, stress reaction) has been slowing working his way back from an arm injury that shut him down at midseason. Although he has thrown off the mound, he has not faced hitters, and, to date, we don’t have any rehab appearances on the schedule.

For now, he traveled back to Chicago ahead of his teammates so that he could get additional tests on his arm.

“The most important thing is getting him to a place where he feels he can go out and dominate,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told Cubs.com. “We’re still trying to figure that timetable out. We’re making sure we run the appropriate tests to know what’s going on. He’s obviously a huge factor for us. Our guys have really stepped up in his absence, but it’s still a real absence for us and he makes us that much better.”

There haven’t been any specific setbacks here, but given the variety of apparent issues in Morrow’s arm (remember how he originally described the MRI as seeing some “stuff” in there?), the Cubs want to keep scanning him as he ramps back up (Sun-Times). Keep in mind that a stress reaction in the elbow is a precursor to a fracture (it was Yu Darvish’s final diagnosis), so not pushing things too much is key. But the flip side is that if you can get Morrow pitching comfortably enough to go out there and compete in the late season and the playoffs, then he gets an entire offseason to rest up.

Morrow acknowledged previously, and again in that Sun-Times piece, that he may have to pitch through some discomfort in order to come back this year. Players can do that kind of thing, as much as we don’t generally want to see it. The questions are: (1) can he do it while still being more effective than whoever else the Cubs would be deploying, and (2) is he risking a more serious injury by doing it. As long as you get the right answers to those questions, especially this time of year, then it’s kinda like … OK, sure, pitch through a little pain.

Easy for me to say it, I know! But I wouldn’t be saying it if it weren’t already Morrow’s perspective. So, I guess let’s see what the latest round of scans reveals, and whether the Cubs will be able to allow Morrow to ramp up to facing live hitters.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.