Cubs' Morrow Still Has 'A Lot' Of Boxes To Check

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(670 The Score) Out all season as he has rehabbed slowly from offseason elbow surgery and forearm issues, Cubs reliever Brandon Morrow still has a lot of work left to accomplish if there's any hope of him returning to the team and contributing in September, pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Wednesday morning.

"In terms of the realistic part of it, I think we're all -- I think Jed (Hoyer) said it the best -- cautiously optimistic," Hottovy said. "He's obviously dealt with some stuff in his elbow and worked his way back and is trying to get back to where he's a real force for us. He's in Arizona, he's doing his throwing and there are good days and bad days. Right now, we're focused, one, on the guys we have and trying to get everybody locked in here. And if there's an opportunity to get him back and have him be a part of what's going on here, that's great. But I think there are still a lot of things he needs to check off and make sure not only -- one thing we always talk about feeling good as you're throwing and coming back from an injury is recovery. It's once you start cranking it up and you start pitching in games, OK, is it going to take you two or three days to recover from that outing and then be available?"

Morrow hasn't pitched since in a game since July 15, 2018 as his throwing arm first flared up. An attempted return last September was unsuccessful, and Morrow was shut down. His rehab progress after surgery in November has featured several setbacks and stops.

Late this July, Morrow also had a procedure to decompress a nerve, ESPN reported, yet another sign of how difficult his rehab has been. When healthy for the Cubs, he was dominant in 2018, posting a 1.47 ERA and converting 22 of 24 save chances.

"We're monitoring what he's doing," Hottovy said. "We're obviously monitoring the throwing and watching the bullpens and the work he's putting in, but I still think we're a ways off to have an idea of if that's going to be something he's going to be able to do and come back and help us late this year."