Strop joins Morrow on sidelines as Maddon ponders closer

By CARRIE MUSKAT – Associated Press – Wednesday, March 13, 2019

MESA, Ariz. (AP) – reliever Pedro Strop has a strained right hamstring, eliminating the likely candidate to close at the start of the season as Brandon Morrow recovers from elbow surgery.

Strop, a 33-year-old right-hander, felt a hamstring issue on his last pitch on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels, his second appearance of spring training. An MRI on Monday revealed a mild strain. The said Strop is able to play catch but will not participate in game-related drills during the next week.

“The trainers are very optimistic,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday. “He’s still able to throw at a great distance. Whenever you’re able to keep your arm working, that matters.”

Morrow, a 34-year-old right-hander, had arthroscopic surgery on Nov. 6. He did not pitch last season after July 15.

If Strop isn’t available to close, the ‘ options include Steve Cishek, Carl Edwards Jr. and Brad Brach.

“We’re discussing different methods,” Maddon said. “I couldn’t begin to tell you what will happen.”

Edwards had a 2.60 ERA in 58 games last season. Maddon said there are times when he may want to use the right-hander earlier in games.

“This guy has closer stuff,” Maddon said, also pointing out “he’s so good at shutting something down in the seventh or eighth, and I would not run away from that.”

NOTES: LHP Jon Lester was picked to start his third straight opener, at Texas on March 28. Maddon said he does not yet have a rotation order. … INF Daniel Descalso is day to day after he jammed his left shoulder on Saturday.

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