Brandon Morrow

Brandon Morrow to miss close to two weeks with mild calf tear, per report

morrow_thumb.jpg
USA TODAY

Brandon Morrow to miss close to two weeks with mild calf tear, per report

Man, Brandon Morrow can’t catch a break.

The Cubs reliever and former closer suffered a second setback in his comeback attempt this spring. According to The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma, Morrow has a mild calf tear (Grade 1 plus) and will miss 10-14 days.

The ailment comes a week after MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported Morrow sustained a mild right upper chest strain while throwing a bullpen session.

Morrow hasn’t pitched since July 2018 after encountering arm problems that led to two subsequent elbow procedures. He was a longshot to make the Cubs Opening Day roster, even if healthy, due to his extensive absence and the fact he's on a minor league contract.

The Cubs have remained hopeful Morrow can contribute at some point in the 2020 season. And while it appears the calf tear will only sideline him briefly, it’s the latest injury to put the 35-year-old on the shelf.

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

morrow_thumb.jpg
USA TODAY

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

Brandon Morrow’s comeback attempt has hit a bump in the road.

Morrow, the Cubs reliever and former closer, has what the club is calling a “mild right upper chest strain,” according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Bastian added Morrow felt the strain in his last bullpen session and there is no clear timeline for his return.

The strain is the latest ailment to sideline the oft-injured Morrow, who hasn't pitched since July 2018 due to a series of arm troubles. The 35-year-old has undergone two elbow surgeries since then (November 2018, September 2019) before becoming a free agent this winter. He rejoined the Cubs on a minor-league deal.

Morrow entered camp optimistic the latest procedure did the trick to get his elbow healthy. The Cubs have been easing him into action — the right-hander is throwing one bullpen every four days. Morrow said earlier this month he’s experienced some aches and pains but attributed those to being part of the rehab process.

Morrow is listed as day-to-day, according to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune. But considering his injury history — and the fact he was already unlikely to crack the Opening Day roster —  the Cubs will proceed with extreme caution. There's no need to expedite his return, mild strain or not.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.

Brandon Morrow enters camp optimistic, aims to crack Cubs' Opening Day roster

Brandon Morrow enters camp optimistic, aims to crack Cubs' Opening Day roster

“So far, so good.”

That’s how Cubs reliever Brandon Morrow described his health and preparation for the coming season on Monday. The 35-year-old is aiming to make his long-awaited return to a big-league mound, hopefully as a member of the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.

Morrow has been sidelined since July 2018 due to a series of elbow issues. The veteran right-hander underwent a debridement procedure in November 2018 and was aiming to be healthy by Opening Day 2019.

That return never came to fruition: Morrow suffered several setbacks in his rehab before the Cubs shut him down in August. He underwent a nerve decompression surgery in September and rejoined the Cubs this winter on ‘prove-it’ minor-league deal.

Morrow said he’s experiencing aches and pains but believes they’re part of his current rehab. He’s throwing a bullpen every fourth day — the Cubs don’t want to rush him back — and hopes his latest procedure does the trick.

“I hope I come back strong and I hope I come back looking just like I did before," Morrow said Monday. "That’s the goal, is to get back to exactly how I felt as a Chicago Cub in the first half of [2018], when I was rolling and feeling good and doing what I wanted to out there.

“Just trying to get healthy and get back the way you are. The first part of it you’re not gonna feel exactly the way you did. But after time, reps, hopefully feeling like that, I can put the surgery behind me and be healthy going forward.”

The Cubs bullpen lost veterans Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler and Pedro Strop to free agency this winter, making many unheralded bullpen additions. Having a healthy Morrow in the fold — in any role — would add more certainty to the group.  In 35 appearances in 2018, Morrow posted a 1.47 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, striking out 31 batters in 30 2/3 innings while converting 22 of 24 save opportunities. 

The Cubs could opt to send Morrow to the minor leagues to start the season. Doing so would give him more time to build up arm strength and reacclimate himself to game action, easing him into a summertime return to the Cubs bullpen. 

If he’s healthy and performing well by the end of spring training, making the Opening Day roster isn't out of the question.

“I think that if I’m one of the best eight relievers…I’ll be given a shot to compete for that,” he said. “I hope so. I can’t say for sure. I’m hopeful. The way I feel now, if I keep building on that, then I should be — I think I will be.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.