Asked last Friday about Pedro Strop, manager David Ross said the reliever was “getting close” to be an option for the Cubs bullpen. The righty had been at the alternate site in South Bend to ramp back up after signing a minor-league deal in the wake of his designation for assignment by the Reds. Strop made only four appearances for Cincinnati and hasn’t pitched since August 7 after being placed on the IL with a right groin strain.
“The pitch data is still a little bit down on him,” Ross explained. “We want to get him built back up a little bit more.”
Strop’s velocity was indeed noticeably down with the Reds, nearly 2 mph on every one of his pitches, and he walked six batters with three strikeouts in just 2.1 innings. It appears he may have tweaked his repertoire as well, possibly adding a changeup to the mix, though the tracking isn’t really consistent on that and could just be a matter of misclassification.
Ross said last week that he wanted to check back on his old buddy in a few days and it’s been a few days…so?
More than a few Cubs fans got excited — or anxious — when Strop’s Instagram story revealed that he was back in Chicago, but it’s possible that’s got nothing to do with an imminent return. Other players assigned to the alternate site commute between Chicago and South Bend because they’ve got homes in the former and can’t afford to break their leases or make two rent payments. Strop indeed has a place in the city and is likely just having a little fun.
So is this just a little tease from the colorful righty or do we want to believe he’s ready to make his return? It’s almost certainly the former, but the latter sure would be fun.