My read on comments last week from Cubs GM Jed Hoyer, together with the entire context and history of Brandon Morrow’s career/tenure with the Cubs, was that Morrow would not be returning to the Cubs this season. It has just had that vibe for a while, and the way Hoyer landed on “fingers crossed” and not counting on a return … I mean, it’s August. He wasn’t even facing hitters yet. It’s been over a year. It felt like the end.
But Morrow is here to say, no sir! There’s still a chance!
in case you missed it, I connected with Brandon Morrow on Friday. He didn’t want to sound overly optimistic about a Sept return — for obvious reasons— but he is. Story here: https://t.co/XiUMGcphVW
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 5, 2019
So many surprise reveals in there from Rogers. Not only is Morrow still rehabbing, but he *has* faced hitters already, and could face them again early this week. And not only that, but he also recently underwent another procedure – this time to relieve a compressed nerve. He got back out there quickly, so it must have been pretty minor and also pretty successful.
Morrow now thinks he can progress quickly and be back in “not more than a month.”
I mean … seriously? Obviously everyone should still operate on the assumption that he’s not coming back, but I do want to at least give Morrow the courtesy of crediting his own words for the purposes of us at least tracking his progress. He says, after that most recent procedure, he’s feeling good, could move quickly, and could be ready before September. My mind is blown.
For that timeline to work, Morrow would probably have to do another couple live BP sessions over the next week, and then work a few innings in Arizona – either simulated games or Arizona Rookie League games. That would take another week and a half. Then he’d have about 10 more days left before September, during which I suppose it’s possible he could throw a few times in the upper minors on a rehab assignment to see if he could come back up to the big club.
On September 1, the roster expands to include the full 40-man, so the Cubs could activate Morrow from the 60-day Injured List at that point without having to take anyone else off the roster. Plausibly, you’re looking at some point in September for Morrow to return, if it’s going to happen at all. Then, the Cubs will really have to evaluate just what kind of shape his arm is in before the postseason.
I strongly encourage you not to *expect* a Morrow return, much less a Morrow return to the guy he was before his injury last year – pumping a beautiful 98 mph fastball, and then wiping guys away with a nasty slider.
But if you’re in a dreaming mode, you can dream about Morrow being that guy, together with a healthy and re-worked Pedro Strop and a breakout Rowan Wick, setting up a finally fully clicking Craig Kimbrel, with Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler, and Kyle Ryan available as the best middle relievers in the game. Lulz. Dreams are nice.