Maples throws BP; Morrow hurt; Lester shoves

March 2nd, 2020

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs will trend younger in the bullpen this season and there will be some new faces getting important outs late in games. One of those faces could be right-hander .

Maples, 27, threw live batting practice for the second time this spring Sunday.

“That’s his second live and we’ll probably see him in games here coming up,” manager David Ross said. “[That’s] just his progression as he’s come into camp and what they’ve lined up for him. Looked really good."

The 27-year-old right-hander appeared in 14 games for the Cubs last season, going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in limited action.

Maples is competing for one of the open spots in the Cubs' bullpen with the locks presumably being Craig Kimbrel, Jeremy Jeffress, Kyle Ryan, Rowan Wick and Brad Wieck. The unknown status of Wieck following his cardiac ablation procedure could open up an additional spot in the bullpen.

“He’s got a great shot. He’s got really good stuff. One of the best breaking balls in our organization,” Ross said. “He’s looked really good so far attacking the zone, and he’s got some really nasty stuff and commands it well.”

Another tough break for Morrow

’s career with the Cubs hasn’t been what the team has wanted, as injuries have derailed the reliever’s tenure in Chicago. The 35-year-old right-hander suffered a Grade 1 right calf tear and will be out the next 10-14 days, The Athletic reported on Saturday. The team did not release an official medical update.

Morrow, who had been shut down for the last two weeks after sustaining a mild right chest muscle strain, missed the entire 2019 season with a variety of right elbow injuries and hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since July 2018.

Worth noting

• Left-hander had a solid outing as he tossed three shutout innings in the Cubs’ 7-3 victory over the Mariners on Sunday at Sloan Park. Lester allowed two hits, struck out four batters and did not allow a walk.

“Today was a lot better. I was just able to take what we worked on prior to the last game, then into my bullpen and finally got it into a higher intensity mode, I guess," Lester said. "Just in that, when you get a little of that adrenaline and you’re facing guys that you want to get out and being able to control that and stay within it ... was a lot better today and it showed with how crisp my pitches were as opposed to the other day.”

went 1-for-3 in Sunday’s victory and hit his second home run of the spring. Almora Jr. is competing with Ian Happ and Steven Souza Jr. for a spot in the Cubs' outfield. The 25-year-old center fielder is hitting .583 (7-for-12) this spring.

• Hard-throwing prospect Manuel Rodriguez was removed from Sunday’s game with right biceps discomfort. Rodriguez was injured after throwing a breaking ball during the sixth inning. He attempted to flex his hand and shake out his arm until the pain subsided, but left the game. The Cubs say Rodriguez will be evaluated further on Monday.

Up next

will be on the mound on Monday as the Cubs take on the Angels at 2:05 p.m. CT at Sloan Park. Joe Maddon returns to face his old club for the first time as manager of the Angels. The game will be available on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. Right-hander and a split squad will also face the A's at 8:05 p.m. CT at Hohokam Stadium. That contest can be seen on MLB Network, MLB.TV and listened to on Gameday Audio.