Cubs reliever Brandon Morrow has suffered a setback in his recovery from elbow surgery, President Theo Epstein told reporters including Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. He’ll miss the remainder of the season.
While the precise nature of the setback is not yet known, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that Morrow will require another procedure to correct the issue. A timeline for Morrow’s recovery is not yet known.
After undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in the offseason, there were always questions whether the right-hander would be able to pitch for the Cubs in 2019, but optimism seemed to be building as Morrow built his workload up in hopes of making a September return.
Morrow’s injury history with the Cubs dates back to last season’s All-Star break, when a biceps injury cost him much of the second half of the season before giving way to elbow problems that necessitated last November’s surgery. He last pitched for the Cubs on July 15 of last year. Earlier this month, it looked as though that might change as Morrow began throwing off a mound, but his progress halted there and his Cubs tenure is effectively over.
With a 2019 return now out of the question, Morrow’s season will go down as one in which he has been unable to appear in a single game for the Cubs, who doled out $21MM in guaranteed money to bring the 35-year-old aboard after a breakout 2017 season with the Dodgers.
In light of Morrow’s recent setback, that two-year contract looks in hindsight to be an utter misstep by the Chicago front office. With a $12MM team option for 2020 that will almost surely not be exercised, Morrow will have appeared in just 35 games over his Cubs tenure—none of which came in the postseason. To be fair, Morrow has been reliable when he has been on the field—posting a 1.47 ERA in a half-season’s worth of games in Chicago—but such a drastic lack of availability paints an unpleasant picture of the Cubs’ hefty investment in the veteran.