Theo Epstein jumped on 670 The Score earlier today (we’ll have more on that soon), but among his various comments were several updates on key Cubs injured players.
For example …
Cole Hamels through another bullpen session and is generally feeling great right now. He’ll throw another bullpen session in a couple days and, depending on how good he feels, the Cubs will transition him into some game action (it wasn’t clear if Epstein meant a simulated game or an actual rehab assignment, but that could very well depend on how well his next session goes).
As for a timetable, the Cubs apparently have a few dates projected already, though Epstein wasn’t willing to share specifics. He did say, however, that it will not be too deep into August – at all – before we see him back on the field, which is great.
Today could be the last day Willson Contreras is completely off his feet, but he might have one more day without any baseball activities (tomorrow) before ramping back up. After tomorrow though, he’ll resume baseball activities and come come back soon thereafter (presumably without any need for a rehab assignment, given how short his stay has been). Indeed, the Cubs still do no expect him to be gone for long, but Epstein did slightly adjust the tune. Before today, they had been saying he will not need any more time than the minimum injury list stint, but Epstein pivoted to “close to the minimum stay” on the IL in this interview. Broadly speaking, Epstein did not seem particularly worried, but we are long past taking their word on “nothing to see here!” injury news.
And finally, Brandon Morrow.
Morrow threw a bullpen session in Arizona yesterday and according to Epstein it went well. HOWEVA, Morrow still wasn’t throwing at 100%. Epstein said he threw his session with “controlled effort” and wasn’t “trying to to reach the upper end of his velo.” It was, by all accounts, still a good step and the plan is for him to throw another bullpen session in a few days and take it from there.
Epstein did say “this is as encouraged as we’ve been in a while,” which is heartening to hear, but I still wouldn’t count on seeing Morrow … maybe ever again. I love the positivity and he could make a big impact on the Cubs, but at this point, he’s been gone for so long that even if he ever does return, there’s no guarantee he’ll be the guy he was in the past.