Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel was placed on the injured list 13 days ago (retroactive to August 4) with a minor issue with his right knee.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that this could have cost the Cubs two games, the games last week in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh where they entered the ninth inning with leads.
Thus this is very good news:
Official: Cubs activated closer Craig Kimbrel from the 10-day IL and option RHP Duane Underwood Jr. to Triple-A Iowa. OF Mark Zagunis called up from Iowa to be the 26th man for tonight's game.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 18, 2019
Kimbrel’s overall numbers — 5.68 ERA, 1.658 WHIP — don’t look all that good. Nevertheless, he has nine saves in 11 chances and all eight of the runs he’s allowed have come in three out of his 14 total appearances. It’s good to have him back.
Duane Underwood Jr. has made three appearances for the Cubs since being recalled when Kimbrel went on the IL. One of them was outstanding, when he struck out all six Athletics hitters he faced August 6 at Wrigley Field, throwing consistently at 95+. He’ll certainly be back in September and has put himself in the mix for the 2020 bullpen.
As noted above, the Cubs have recalled Mark Zagunis to be the 26th man for tonight’s game (it was required that this addition be a position player). Here is the Pirates’ 26th man for tonight:
ROSTER MOVES: Infielder Cole Tucker has been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis and RHP Montana DuRapau has been recalled from Indy.— Pirates (@Pirates) August 18, 2019
Tucker has also been recalled as the 26th man for tonight’s Little League Classic Game in Williamsport.