The Cubs’ closer-to-be is getting himself a version of Spring Training right now in Iowa – the pre-game part of things – and he’ll hopefully soon head out to Iowa to approximate the Cactus League:
Kimbrel to throw another live BP Saturday, which could put him in line to join Iowa after that. At that point maybe 5 or so appearances (including a back-to-back set) to be ready to join Cubs’ pen, if goes as planned.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) June 15, 2019
The Cubs are planning for Craig Kimbrel to throw another live batting practice tomorrow in Arizona and then potentially join Triple-A Iowa for about five relief appearances.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) June 15, 2019
I hadn’t quite been anticipating as many as five Iowa appearances for Kimbrel, but then I’d been baking in game action in Arizona before heading to Iowa, so it all kinda balances out. Also, as we’ve discussed, the Cubs are extremely reticent not to give Kimbrel PLENTY of time to get geared up. The comparison a lot of folks offer is the Greg Holland disaster with the Cardinals, and although the parallels aren’t perfect, it is worth noting that Holland got only two High-A relief appearances before the Cardinals activated him just 11 days after he signed.
So, what’s the timeline looking like right now?
Let’s assume that today goes well, and Kimbrel is ready to make his first in-game appearance for Iowa on Tuesday, June 18. Let’s also assume that he takes a couple days off after that one, and goes again on Friday, June 21. Then let’s say he takes a day off, and goes back-to-back on Saturday, June 23 and Monday, June 24. Then he’ll definitely take a couple days off before making a theoretical final appearance on Thursday, June 27.
That would put Kimbrel on schedule to join the big league Cubs right at the end of June, or perhaps the first day or two of July.
I’ll take it.
Of course, that presumes absolutely no setbacks and a solid ramp-up. Knock on the nearest block of wood.