Cubs relievers Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Kintzler could return by this weekend

Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

Craig Kimbrel won't be activated from the injured list Wednesday, but the Cubs closer believes he could return by this weekend.

"Hopefully just a couple more days," Kimbrel said Tuesday after throwing his first bullpen session since being placed on the IL with right knee inflammation. "If it keeps progressing the way it is, absolutely."

Kimbrel could return by this weekend against the Pirates if he passes his next two tests. Kimbrel will undergo a series of fielding drills before Wednesday's game and throw another bullpen session in a few days.

"Right now it's seeing how I come back (Wednesday) with the general soreness," Kimbrel said.

Fellow reliever Brandon Kintzler threw his second bullpen session Tuesday, and the Cubs are confident he will be healthy enough to be activated Friday.

"It's all encouraging," said manager Joe Maddon, adding that reliever Steve Cishek returned to Chicago for treatment on his swollen left hip. "There are no dates (for a return), but everyone is in good shape."


Catcher Willson Contreras, who has been sidelined since Aug. 4 because of a strained right hamstring, will perform more strengthening drills soon.

"(Trainer) PJ Mainville (said) Willson is progressing well, but they need to get to more specific strength work right now," Maddon said.

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