Pedro Strop wore a blue “HOPE 2016” T-shirt that symbolized this team’s World Series expectations. It also reflected his optimism after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in mid-August – and then straining his right groin while trying to come back to what the Cubs believe will be a dominant playoff bullpen.
Ramping up for October, Strop reported no issues after completing a 20-pitch bullpen session on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Manager Joe Maddon believes the hard-throwing reliever is getting “close” to full strength and again becoming another option to set up in front of Aroldis Chapman.
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“Everything was like game mode right there,” Strop said before the Cubs tried to beat the Milwaukee Brewers and clinch a National League Central title. “I feel good.”
Strop – who’s put up a 2.89 ERA, 21 holds and 56 strikeouts in almost 44 innings – plans to go through at least one more bullpen session and hopes to return to game action next week.
“That’s what everybody’s thinking right now: Get ready for October,” Strop said. “Don’t push anything now. Just make sure you’re pain-free. We don’t need another setback.”