Cubs Injury Updates: Bryant to Tennessee for Rehab, Could Rejoin Cubs in SF

Kris Bryant took BP early Sunday and the plan now is for him to join the Tennessee Smokies for a rehab assignment. With the South Bend Cubs out of town, AA Tennessee is the closest affiliate playing at home over the next few days. And the Smokies also happen to be giving away Kris Bryant can koozies to the first 1,000 fans at tonight’s game, so it was meant to be.

Bryan Duensing was scheduled to throw a bullpen in Chicago Sunday and will join Bryant in Kodak, though it’s not clear yet exactly when they are set to arrive there. Depending on how things go and how they feel, it’s possible both could rejoin the Cubs on the West Coast swing through San Francisco and San Diego.

Bryant didn’t rule out the possibility of being back for at least part of the series in Northern California and you know he’d love to visit his old stomping grounds from his college days at the University of San Diego. We should know more following reaction to getting some swing in down at Tennessee.

Since those six games in Cali are the Cubs’ last before the All-Star break, it’s not a stretch to think they might hold their superstar back one more week just to get all that additional rest.

In somewhat less splashy news, the Cubs announced Sunday that righty reliever Anthony Bass had been placed on the 10-day DL retroactive to July 5 with an illness. Bass had been performing really well for the Cubs in his time with the team, mainly as a result of throwing strikes and letting his defense bail him out.

To fill his spot on the roster, the Cubs have called up 24-year-old righty James Norwood from AAA Iowa. For more on Norwood, here’s a clip from the press release announcing the move:

Norwood, who joins the first major league roster of his career, will wear uniform number 57 and be available for the Cubs this afternoon as they conclude their three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.

The 24-year-old Norwood joins the Cubs after going 1-2 with two saves and a 2.13 ERA (9 ER/38.0 IP) in 29 relief appearances between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa this season.  He has struck out 44 batters and walked only 12 in 38.0 innings, contributing to a 1.05 WHIP.  Norwood has limited foes to a .206 batting average and allowed only two home runs.

Norwood began the 2018 campaign with Tennessee and went 1-2 with a 2.48 ERA (9 ER/32.2 IP) in 25 relief outings to earn his first-career promotion to Triple-A on June 25, where he has tossed 5.1 scoreless frames covering four relief outings leading to today’s big league call-up.  With Iowa, Norwood has posted a 0.56 WHIP and held opponents to a .158 batting average against.

A native of New York, NY, Norwood was originally selected by the Cubs in the seventh round of the 2014 Draft out of St. Louis University.  The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder pitched as both a starter and reliever during his first two years of pro ball before pitching exclusively in relief starting in 2016.  Overall, Norwood is 11-14 with 17 saves and a 3.84 ERA (86 ER/201.2 IP) in 127 minor league appearances, all but 15 in relief, covering five seasons in the Cubs minor league system.  He is a graduate of All Hallows High School in Bronx, NY.

It’s good to get a look at some of the young pitchers in the system, even if Norwood’s presence in this case is really as a warm body to eat some low-leverage innings if need be. The Cubs are in a pretty good spot, roster-wise, since adding Norwood gives them only 38 on the 40-man.

That means they’ve got two more spots — I’m good at math — should they choose to add to their depth as the trade deadline approaches.

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