Chicago Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel is headed to the injured list for the second time since joining the team in June, team president Theo Epstein told reporters Thursday.
While the last time he was sidelined – in early August – it was for knee inflammation, this time, it’s for elbow inflammation. Kimbrel missed two weeks during his prior stint on the IL and was able to forgo a rehab assignment and return directly to the closer role.
Kimbrel already had an MRI this time around that came back clean, and he will eligible to return Sept. 12.
The news comes just hours before Chicago kicks off four-game series on the road against their division rival Milwaukee Brewers. Currently three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals and four ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central race, the Cubs sit three games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second National League wild card spot.
Despite the unfortunate timing, manager Joe Maddon is optimistic Kimbrel will rejoin his squad shortly:
Joe Maddon reacts to the Craig Kimbrel injury news: “It’s the nature of the season, it seems, but hopefully it’s going to be short-lived. Just talking to him right now, it doesn’t sound horrible. We’ll play it all the way through and hopefully get him back relatively quickly.”— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) September 5, 2019
The seven-time All-Star Kimbrel, 31, has had a rocky season since signing for three years and $43 million this summer. He’s made 21 appearances, racking up an ERA of 5.68 and 1.53 WHIP. In his latest outing, Kimbrel faced four batters in 2/3 of an inning, allowing a three-run homer at the hands of Christian Yelich as the Cubs fell 4-0 to the Brewers.
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