MILWAUKEE -- After a decade in the big leagues, Craig Kimbrel knows his arm and understands when it is best to err on the side of caution. The closer also knows his importance to the Cubs' bullpen, making it a no-brainer to rest for a few days after feeling some discomfort in his right elbow.
"You don't go through one season without some kinds of ups and downs and nicks and bruises," Kimbrel said on Friday. "It's just trying to figure out a way to navigate through it. I think that's what I'm doing here, just trying to let it rest and get through it, and then hopefully come back and it's not bothering me."
Kimbrel let the Cubs know that he felt something flare up in his throwing elbow in his appearance on Sunday against the Brewers at home. An MRI exam came back clean, revealing only some inflammation around the joint. Given that Kimbrel was going to enter a shutdown period from throwing, Chicago placed him on the 10-day injured list on Thursday.
Kimbrel said there is a schedule mapped out internally, but the closer did not want to reveal any of the upcoming checkpoints just yet. The plan, though, is to have the right-hander rest his arm and undergo treatment for a few days before ramping up his throwing again.
Barring any setbacks, Kimbrel is hopeful that he can be ready to return by Thursday, when he is first eligible for activation.
"I haven't picked up a ball in the last couple days just to let it calm down a little bit," Kimbrel said. "Once I pick it up, we'll evaluate and see where we go from there. But we were pleased with what we saw in the MRI. We felt comfortable just to take a few days off, let it rest and crank it back up."
While Kimbrel is out, the Cubs will mix and match with their relievers in the last few innings. Setup options like Brandon Kintzler, Steve Cishek, Kyle Ryan or Rowan Wick could see save opportunities. Heading into Friday's game in Milwaukee, Chicago's relief corps had posted a 1.86 ERA over the team's previous eight games.
"They've been unbelievable," Kimbrel said. "The guys have been stepping up in big spots and getting big outs. Now, here in September, we've got a lot of guys down there, so being able to piece together what we think is the best matchup for each and every game, and knowing guys are going to be healthy, I think that's huge.
"We need to go on a good roll, and those guys are going to be a big part of that down the stretch."
Darvish ready for Saturday start
Cubs righty Yu Darvish threw an "outstanding" bullpen session on Thursday, according to manager Joe Maddon. The pitcher went through his usual routine on Friday at Miller Park, putting him on schedule to start against the Brewers on Saturday as planned.
"All the reports were really good," Maddon said on Friday. "So, we're ready to roll."
Darvish had his start skipped on Sunday due to right forearm tightness, which the pitcher said he has been managing since early July. Specifically, Darvish detailed on Friday afternoon that he first felt the issue flare up while throwing a sixth-inning two-seam fastball to Colin Moran in a July 3 outing against the Pirates.
"I was dealing with it," said Darvish, who has a 3.19 ERA with 78 strikeouts against three walks in 10 starts going back to July 3. "But every time in the fifth inning, sixth inning, I'd start feeling tightness. That's why Joe sometimes pulled me early. It's not really tight, just a little soreness. It's all right."