Cubs News: Craig Kimbrel Recalled from Triple-A Iowa Ahead of CHC Debut

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2019

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 07:  Craig Kimbrel of the Chicago Cubs with his wife Ashely and their daughter Lydia Joy, 19mts, following an introductory press conference at Wrigley Field on June 07, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs announced they called up closer Craig Kimbrel from the Triple-A Iowa Cubs ahead of Thursday afternoon's game against the Atlanta Braves.

Kimbrel, who previously pitched for the Braves, San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox, signed a three-year, $43 million contract with Chicago on June 7.

The 31-year-old Alabama native made four appearances as part of a conditioning stint with Iowa. He posted a 2.45 ERA and 0.82 WHIP with four strikeouts in 3.2 innings.

Kimbrel, like Atlanta starter Dallas Keuchel, endured an extended stay on the free-agent market because his signing was connected to losing a pick in the 2019 MLB draft. Once that compensation was wiped out June 3, both players quickly signed.

His arrival will further bolster one of the league's best bullpens. The Cubs rank seventh in MLB with a 3.90 ERA.

Last week, Kimbrel told Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic he was excited about his Wrigley Field debut but didn't want to rush the process.

"I'm ready to do it," he said. "But I also have to listen to myself, listen to my body. This isn't about next couple games before the (All-Star) break. It's about after the break and the postseason. I'm making sure I feel the way I should."

Kimbrel should quickly slot in as the Cubs' new closer, moving Pedro Strop into a setup role alongside Steve Cishek and Brandon Kintzler. He owns a 1.91 career ERA across nine MLB seasons.

The first pitch between Chicago and Atlanta is set for 2:20 p.m. ET at Wrigley.