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Cubs News: Craig Kimbrel Placed on 10-Day IL with Elbow Injury

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst ISeptember 5, 2019

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (24) throws the ball against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
David Banks/Associated Press

Chicago Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel is dealing with another injury that has landed him on the 10-day injured list. 

Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters Thursday Kimbrel has been diagnosed with inflammation in his right elbow after his MRI came back clean. He will be eligible to return Sept. 12. 

Previously, Chicago had placed Kimbrel on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation on Aug. 5 (retroactive to Aug. 4). 

"Instead of making it a bigger problem than it is, we'll just let it calm down and get back out there," the 31-year-old closer said at the time, according to MLB.com's Jeff Arnold, who also reported the team would use a bullpen committee to close games out in Kimbrel's absence as Pedro Strop was also on the IL with neck tightness.

Kimbrel returned to the active roster on Aug. 18, and it was none too soon. The Cubs' bullpen struggled in his absence—illustrated best by allowing six runs in the bottom of the ninth against Philadelphia to lose 7-5 on Aug. 15.

As for past injuries, Kimbrel had to surgically repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and missed three weeks during the 2016 season. 

Kimbrel signed a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs on June 7. The seven-time All-Star saw his free agency bleed into the 2019 regular season after helping the Boston Red Sox capture the 2018 World Series.

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Since arriving in Chicago, Kimbrel has appeared in 21 games with 13 saves and 26 strikeouts as well as a disappointing 5.68 ERA. 

In general, Kimbrel's production has been shakier of late dating back to last season when his FIP was a career-high 3.13. As a member of the Atlanta Braves to begin his career, Kimbrel led the National League in saves from 2011-14 including an MLB-leading 50 saves in 2013. 

In the meantime, the Cubs can look to Pedro Strop as their closer. They currently trail the St. Louis Cardinals by three games in the National League Central race, but have a three-game lead for the second wild-card spot. 

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