Brandon Morrow Shut Down for Season

Shortly after ESPN’s Jesse Rogers warned not to “hold you’re [sic] breathe [sic]” on Brandon Morrow, the Cubs officially announced that the closer would be shut down for the remainder of the season. Morrow had been progressing through the prescribed steps of his rehab process, but the pain in his right elbow never went away.

In fact, it actually got worse as he stepped up his throwing program. That had been a fear from the start and it became obvious in the wake of a simulated start this weekend that a return was not possible. Morrow’s injury has been described as a bone bruise or a stress reaction, which is the same malady that cost Yu Darvish his season and led to him undergoing an arthroscopic procedure to clean his elbow up.

It was highly questionable in light of the Darvish situation that Morrow would be able to come back, but the Cubs allowed their closer to determine his own ability to pitch throug pain. In the end, it was just far too obvious that returning this season was not an option.

“Every time he pitched, it got worse,” Theo Epstein said Tuesday. “It was time to do the right thing and let this thing heal.”

The Cubs weren’t planning on Morrow returning to dominate the 9th inning right away anyway, so this confirmation serves only to solidify their plans for the bullpen. Joe Maddon will continue to go with a committee at the end of games for now, but Pedro Strop is confident that he’ll be able to return ahead of the playoffs.

In the meantime, the best option is to have the starter go 8 2/3 and then bring in a reliever to throw one pitch for the final out. Seemed to work well Monday night.


Evan Altman

Evan Altman is the EIC and co-founder of Cubs Insider and has proclaimed himself Central Indiana's foremost Cubs authority. He is a husband, father, homebrewer, and award-winning blogger with entirely too much pop culture knowledge. Evan's greatest accomplishments include scoring 400 points in Magic Johnson's Fast Break, naming all 10 members of the Wu-Tang Clan in under 3.5 seconds, and winning the Meese Literary Award at Hanover College.

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  1. Tough news. I’d hoped either Smyly or Morrow might be the bullpen’s knight in shining armor. I’m going to have to agree with this 100% though: “[T]he best option is to have the starter go 8 2/3 and then bring in a reliever to throw one pitch for the final out.”

    1. Tough news, indeed. Seemed a bit inevitable, but we all hoped for better. The good news is that I don’t know that anyone going to the NL playoffs has a better pen than the Cubs – even without Morrow.

    1. I’d be lying if I told you I hadn’t thought about making the title for the initial Morrow post “Don’t Hold You’re Breathe” just to mess with Jesse. Not that he’d have seen it or anything.

  2. I only hope our first round opponent doesn’t go Washington Nationals on us and force us to expend our starters out of the pen and have our NLCS opponents on mop up duty. Quintana and Lester out of the pen because Silly String slinger Carl Edwards can’t throw strikes is worst case scenario.

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