Cubs reliever Brandon Morrow received an injection of “synthetic lubricant” earlier this week in the latest bid to get him back to health, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times was among those to cover on Twitter. He’ll be shut down for at least two weeks before he can resume throwing.
Morrow had been shut down recently after experiencing a setback in his rehab effort. He underwent elbow surgery last November after problems in and around the joint cost him the latter half of the 2018 season.
The news of the injection provides another rough timeline, though it’s tough at this point to assume things will go according to plan. As Wittenmyer notes, the best-case-scenario now is probably that Morrow makes it back to the MLB mound some time in July — about a year after he went on the shelf with an issue that was then expected only to cost him a few weeks.
A fully functioning version of the 34-year-old Morrow would make for a heck of a mid-season addition. The Cubs have hit their stride of late but still face a season-long battle in a tough division. With payroll constraints and a farm system that has already been mined rather heavily for promotions and trade chips in recent years, the oft-injured Morrow may yet be the organization’s best hope for a boost in the bullpen.
Unless and until he’s fully up to speed, the Cubs will likely continue to rely upon Pedro Strop as the primary closer. Steve Cishek, Brad Brach, and Brandon Kintzler also have substantial late-inning experience in the majors.