Craig Kimbrel to IL with Elbow Inflammation, David Bote Recalled

When David Bote was held out of Iowa’s playoff game Wednesday night, the initial speculation was that he could be coming up to take the spot of Kris Bryant or even Yu Darvish. Turns out it’s actually Craig Kimbrel, who has been placed on the injured list for the second time as a Cub. Theo Epstein announced Thursday that the closer is dealing with right elbow inflammation, which is not ideal in the least.

This development could not have come at a worse time, with the Cubs starting a four-game set in Milwaukee as they try to gain on the red-hot Redbirds. But hey, at least the rest of the bullpen has been nails. Seriously, though, there are some capable arms back there, it’s just that usage and experience aren’t really in their favor.

Epstein told reporters that Kimbrel felt something in the elbow during Sunday’s outing, the one in which he allowed a three-run homer to Christian Yelich that mercifully ended what had been a garbage game. An MRI revealed no structural damage — Epstein called it “pristine” — but discretion and valor go hand-in-hand.

“Unfortunately, we have to give it a few days without throwing to let it calm down,” Epstein said. “We expect a pretty quick ramp-up. We expect him to be back by the end of next week.”

Assuming Steve Cishek doesn’t continue to pitch every night and Tyler Chatwood isn’t held out for hypothetical situations that never develop, those two could split closing duties. Or the Cubs could burn the candle at both ends with Rowan Wick and Brad Wieck. Brandon Kintzler will likely get some run, just please don’t try Pedro Strop back there again.

Seems like just last season the Cubs faced a stretch run without their closer. Fun times.

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