Craig Kimbrel nearly had a chance to pitch with a game on the line.
Chicago Cubs manager David Ross revealed that Kimbrel, who has struggled in the closer role since joining the team in June 2019, was his next pitcher had they not pulled out a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in 11 innings Sunday.
“We’ll continue to communicate and check in with him daily to see where he’s at, see how he feels and continues to grow,” Ross said Monday. “He’s no different than anyone on this team. He can get better and try to be the best version of himself this year, and he’s putting in a ton of work to be the best he can be.”
Ross reassessed the closer role after Kimbrel allowed two home runs in the ninth inning of Friday’s 6-3 win over the Pirates. Four days earlier he walked four and hit a batter in one-third of an inning against the Cincinnati Reds, and Jeremy Jeffress had to enter to close out an 8-7 victory.
In other pitching news, Jose Quintana threw 30 pitches without discomfort before Monday’s game against the Kansas City Royals. Quintana, who is recovering from a cut nerve in his left thumb, is scheduled to throw a two-inning simulated game Thursday in South Bend, Ind.