Cubs closer Morrow struggling, starter Lester readying for return

Reuters

Chicago Cubs closer Brandon Morrow will be sidelined longer as he recovers from offseason surgery on his right elbow, but starter Jon Lester is inching closer to a return, manager Joe Maddon said Saturday.

Maddon said Morrow, who currently is on the 10-day injured list, struggled in his recovery from throwing off the mound earlier this week.

"The bounceback after the last time out wasn't as good," Maddon said. "So, we've got to back off of him once again and just slow things down. That's just where he's at. It's not unlike what had been going on (last season). It was all trending very well and then, like I said, this last time, just not as good. So, we just have to pay attention to what he's saying."

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Morrow, 34, is in the second season of a two-year, $21 million contract. A 12-year-veteran, the Cubs are his fifth team.

Last season, he was 0-0 with 22 saves and a 1.47 ERA. He threw 30 2/3 innings over 35 relief appearances.

Veteran lefty Lester threw from the mound at Wrigley Field on Saturday in a 45-pitch simulated game, and Maddon told reporters he did well. Lester hasn't pitched since he injured his left hamstring on April 8.

"He was very hypercritical of himself. I thought he looked good," Maddon said. "He did not hold back at all, so that's very encouraging. The next step is tomorrow, and see how he feels coming off that: ‘How does the leg feel? How does your arm feel?' And then, once we get our minds wrapped around that, we'll definitely make our plans."

Before the injury, Lester, 35, started three games and threw 14 innings. He is 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA on the season.

--Field Level Media

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