I can’t help myself but hang on every update about new Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel’s readiness to actually join the team.
The latest has him working another bullpen in Arizona on Monday, and then likely facing live hitters at the end of this week (Cubs.com). That could plausibly have him doing another bit of live BP a few days later, and if he were really clicking, a minor league rehab/conditioning stint at AAA Iowa by next weekend.
Gordon Wittenmyer writes that joining the Cubs, however, is actually being targeted for early next month, not the end of this month, as some reports had suggested. Again, we know that the Cubs will proceed very cautiously to ensure Kimbrel has a proper Spring-Training-like ramp-up, and you’d much rather they err on the side of having him join “too late” than join “too early.”
If Kimbrel doesn’t join the Cubs until the first week of July, you’d be looking at the four-game set in Pittsburgh (July 1-4) or the two-gamer at Guaranteed Rate against the White Sox (July 6-7). And if he’s on that trajectory, you wouldn’t expect to see him at Iowa for another couple weeks.