CHICAGO -- Left-hander Drew Smyly's bid to pitch this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery is over, but the Cubs were encouraged after injured reliever Brandon Morrow's workout.Morrow threw 25 pitches in the bullpen on Sunday, the first time the right-hander has thrown off the mound since mid-July."He was optimistic
CHICAGO -- Left-hander Drew Smyly's bid to pitch this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery is over, but the Cubs were encouraged after injured reliever Brandon Morrow's workout.
Morrow threw 25 pitches in the bullpen on Sunday, the first time the right-hander has thrown off the mound since mid-July.
"He was optimistic in a sense," manager Joe Maddon said of Morrow, who was projected to be the Cubs' closer this season. "When I spoke to him afterward, the face was easy, a little bit of a smile, felt pretty good. Hopefully, it's a good first step."
The Cubs are counting on Morrow's feedback to determine the next step. He's been sidelined with a bone bruise in his right arm.
"We're relying a lot on what he says to us," Maddon said.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he's optimistic about Morrow's return as well.
"The best-case scenario would be full strength, ready to go," Epstein said. "He's doing everything he possibly can. He wants it. He signed here to pitch in October."
The Cubs weren't counting on Smyly as much. When he signed, the team made it clear that anything he could do this year would be a bonus. Smyly underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in early July 2017.
"He did a great job to get back, fought through a lot of obstacles, pitched in a Minor League game, pitched a clean inning, which was awesome for him," Epstein said. "He wanted to keep pushing. He really wanted badly to help this team, but realistically, we kind of ran out of time, ran out of Minor League games."
Epstein said Smyly can have a normal offseason and possibly be part of the Cubs' rotation next year.
Weather may be an issue for Thursday's makeup game
With Sunday's game postponed until Thursday, the Cubs are in a stretch of 30 consecutive days with a game scheduled. It's a first for Maddon.
"Not even as a fence installer or a hoagie maker," Maddon said of having to work 30 straight days. "As a hoagie maker, limosine drive, fence installer, I've never gone 30 in a row."
Because of rain in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, the Cubs are scheduled to play Thursday at Nationals Park. The weather forecast may not be much better. Hurricane Florence is headed toward the East Coast.
"There's no maybe's yet," Maddon said. "For right now, we're planning on going to Washington."
"It's on the schedule, but obviously the biggest story in the country right now is the hurricane," Epstein said. "We wish everyone the best for their safety. We're just going to keep an eye on that. Common sense will prevail, I'm sure."
Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. understands how quickly the weather can change.
"It's tough to predict what's going to happen with a hurricane," Almora said. "Being from Florida, I know they can shift, they can turn, they can go back right to the ocean. We'll see what happens."
Would Maddon prefer to play the game on Oct. 1 if necessary?
"Of course, I think that would be optimal if we could do that," Maddon said. "Even when you get a day off when you get rained out, it's not a day off. Your motor is still running. You got up, you went through your routine, you practice like you normally practice. You get ready, then you sit when the game's not played. For us, the better outcome would be that the game would not be played, but if it is, we'll be there."
The Cubs have had to deal with nearly 11 hours of rain delays over the last three days.
"I'm going through mold remediation right now," Maddon joked.
Injury update: Heyward
Jason Heyward (right hamstring tightness) remained in Chicago to do his rehab rather than accompany the Cubs to Milwaukee or Washington, and on Monday, the outfielder was able to test his right leg by running outside. There have been no setbacks, Heyward said.
"Today is the most I got my legs involved outside," Heyward said. "I've been hitting inside off the tee, flips and I hit some [batting practice] off an arm today.
"The confidence is there. I just have to do the smart thing now and build my way back up to running and stuff like that."
Is there enough time?
"I'm going to do everything necessary to be smart about it," he said. "I plan on playing baseball. ... It's too late in the year to have any setbacks. I have to be smart."
• Class A Eugene opened the best-of-five Northwest League championship series with a 3-2 win over Spokane on Sunday. Levi Jordan hit a game-winning solo homer in the eighth inning. Nelson Velazquez and Luis Vazquez each had two hits and one RBI. The series continues on Monday.
• The Class A South Bend Cubs will host the 2019 Midwest League All-Star Game, presented by Four Winds Casino, on June 17-19.
• Funeral services will be held in Westchester, Ill., on Tuesday for Gene Da Cosse, who worked for more than 50 years with Wilson Sporting Goods. He died Sept. 6 at the age of 93.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.