The Cubs got some good news on Brandon Morrow today, as the closer felt good after throwing a 19-pitch simulated game. (The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma and the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan were among those who reported the news.) Morrow hasn’t pitched since July 15 due to biceps inflammation, and as recently as 10 days ago, manager Joe Maddon expressed some doubt that Morrow would be able to pitch again this season. In the wake of today’s simulated outing, Morrow could potentially be activated from the DL in time for at least part of the Cubs’ series against the Diamondbacks, which begins on Monday. Morrow won’t be used as a closer right away, Maddon said, as the team will ease the righty back into action by keeping him on pitch counts and avoiding using him in back-to-back games. Even in this limited capacity, Morrow’s impending return is nice boost for the Cubs’ postseason chances, as the veteran had a sterling 1.47 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 3.44 K/BB rate over his first 30 2/3 innings in a Chicago uniform.
Here are some more injury updates from around baseball…
- In other Cubs injury news, Maddon told Sahadev Sharma (Twitter link) and other reporters that Jason Heyward could return from the DL as early as today after missing two weeks with a hamstring injury. Kyle Schwarber hasn’t played since September 10 due to a bad back, though the slugger could be available to pinch-hit today.
- Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman felt good after a bullpen session today, and he’ll throw a simulated game on Monday or Tuesday, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweets. If all goes well, Chapman is on pace to be activated from the disabled list sometime this week. Chapman hit the DL due to knee inflammation on August 22, and there was even some concern that the problem could sideline the closer for the rest of the regular season. Now, however, it looks as if Chapman will be back on the field and get some time to work off the rust before the postseason.
- Diamondbacks southpaw T.J. McFarland hasn’t pitched since September 8 due to elbow soreness, though the problem appears to be only a bone spur rather than a more serious UCL issue, FOX Sports Arizona’s Jody Jackson reports (via Twitter). McFarland is back to playing catch with the hopes of a return to the mound. The left-hander has been a force for the D’Backs this season, posting a 2.00 ERA and a 67.9% grounder rate over 72 relief innings.
- Free agent reliever Adam Liberatore will require 6-8 weeks of recovery time after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports (Twitter link). The procedure isn’t expected to have any impact on Liberatore’s readiness for the 2019 season, though it will obviously slow his chances of immediately catching on with a new team. The left-hander was limited by knee problems this season and a forearm strain in 2017, and thus he has thrown just 16 1/3 Major League innings total in 2017-18. When healthy, Liberatore has looked like a solid relief option, posting a 3.55 ERA, 9.4 K/9, and 2.58 K/BB rate over 88 2/3 career frames for the Dodgers, who released Liberatore last week.