Manager David Ross on Tuesday acknowledged that it's "going to take a minute" for the Cubs to address the mechanical flaws in Kimbrel, who has lost his closer's job while posting a 23.63 ERA in four appearances early on this season.
"It's daily," Ross said of Kimbrel's progress on the Laurence Holmes Show. "I think it really is. Watching him throw the other day, we saw some signs of the four-seamer getting back to climbing in the zone instead of running, the breaking ball getting a little more depth to it, some 12-to-6 back where he's on top of the ball. I know Craig's not where he wants to be yet, but I think he feels like he's moving in the right direction. I think we feel like we're seeing some progress every time he steps foot out there on the bump, but it's definitely not just one easy mechanical fix and everything is just going to click back into place. It's going to take a minute. He understands that. We understand that, and the best thing we can do is support him and continue to work with him and give him feedback and let him work through some issues out there in real competition."
Appearing on the Dan Bernstein Show earlier Tuesday, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer mentioned that part of the complication in fixing Kimbrel's struggles is that his adrenaline in games prevents him from repeating his mechanics with the smooth consistency that he needs. Hoyer indicted that what Kimbrel has worked on in practice and bullpen sessions therefore doesn't immediately translate the next day to a game situation.
"There's a lot," Ross said. "I wouldn't put it in one box, right? Jed's completely right. Like there is that adrenaline that you can't replace in a bullpen session. You can slow things down in a bullpen session and things be cleaned up, all of your mechanics can rest in place. But you get in there, the adrenaline of a game, you know your mind and your mentality, your confidence plays a big role in that when you get in there.
"Getting out there and harnessing that adrenaline and those emotions and that mentality and being able to compete and everything lining up, so yeah, there's a lot of things that go into it and into competing and making adjustments in game."