Cubs

Here comes Kimbrel: Closer will join Cubs Thursday

Here comes Kimbrel: Closer will join Cubs Thursday

Here comes Craig Kimbrel.

Cubs fans can get used to hearing those words, as the closer is officially a member of the Chicago bullpen. The Cubs activated Kimbrel after Wednesday's 5-3 loss, optioning reliever Tony Barnette down to Triple-A Iowa to create room in the bullpen. 

Kimbrel wrapped up his minor-league rehab stint with a scoreless outing Tuesday and will be available for Thursday's homestand finale against the Atlanta Braves, the team he began his career with.

There was some thought before the game Adbert Alzolay could be the guy heading down to the minors as a corresponding move to Kimbrel's arrival, but the Cubs will keep the rookie in the big leagues for now, though they have not announced another start for him or in what role he'll pitch in moving forward.

The Cubs have been operating with a six-man rotation recently, with Alzolay making his first big-league start Tuesday night as a part of that.

Alzolay, of course, hasn't done anything worthy of a demotion. In his two outings in the big leagues over the last week, he's put up a 2.08 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while striking out 9 batters and permitting only 2 hits in 8.2 innings.

The organization also wants to be careful with his workload, as he pitched only 39.2 innings a year ago due to injury. He's already thrown 44.2 innings this year.

"Of course you want to keep him on a schedule," Maddon said. "...You also have to be mindful of the innings that he's pitching this year based on what kind of a jump you want him to endure this year. 

"There's a lot of different components about these discussions specifically. Definitely showing you that he can pitch here. No question he can pitch here. But now we have to figure out how to put him in the mix in a way that's beneficial to him and us. We're not done discussing that."

The Cubs will have other roster crunch decisions to make in the near future as both Kyle Hendricks and Carl Edwards Jr. are recovering from their respective injuries.

Both right-handers threw a bullpen at Wrigley Field Wednesday and progressing toward a return.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The Yu Darvish 1st Wrigley win and post-ASG hot start podcast

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The Yu Darvish 1st Wrigley win and post-ASG hot start podcast

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki discuss Yu Darvish's 1st win at Wrigley, Cole Hamel's status, and Kris Bryant playing better than he did in his MVP season.

01:00     Darvish picking up 1st win at Wrigley

03:30     Cole Hamels injury update

05:00     Starting rotation after the All-Star break

06:00     Cubs defense looking sharp

07:30     How the Cubs will approach the weekend and the expected heat

09:30     Kris Bryant playing above his MVP level

12:00     How the NL Central stacks up

14:00     Upcoming road trip to San Francisco, Milwaukee and Saint Louis

16:00     Addition to Martin Maldonado

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: After the ASG, the Cubs are trending up... the Sox, not so much

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USA TODAY

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: After the ASG, the Cubs are trending up... the Sox, not so much

Ozzie Guillen and Doug Glanville join Leila Rahimi on this edition of Baseball Night in Chicago.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: