Brandon Morrow's sim game successful, return soon?


Brandon Morrow doesn't have a date in mind yet for when he'll return to the bullpen, but after he threw a successful sim game Saturday, Morrow knows that it's soon.

Speaking to reporters afterward, he said that it will depend on how his arm feels Sunday, but if all is well, he could be set to return during the series in Arizona.

"It's possible," Morrow said of the chance that he might return against the Diamondbacks.

Because it is mid-September, Morrow will not have the opportunity to test himself in a live game with one of the Cubs affiliates because their seasons have ended. When he does come in to a game, it will be the first time since July.

Morrow said he made due with replicating his game day process as best as possible.

"I played catch a little bit earlier, I played catch about 11:00, and then I just hung out for a half hour, twenty minutes, and then I got ready in the bullpen like I normally would," Morrow said. "Jogged to the mound, warmup pitches, sim inning, so I tried to simulate as much as a regular day as you can."

Morrow said that he felt good after the sim game not just physically. He was happy with how his pitches felt as well.

"I thought my command was very good. I feel like I’m free, I don’t feel like I’m holding back at all, everything coming out and the command on my breaking stuff was really good, I thought," Morrow said. "Plenty to compete and throw the ball competitively."

Morrow threw 19 "game" pitches after having thrown his customary eight warmup pitches on the mound. 

Manager Joe Maddon was also pleased with how Morrow's sim game looked.

"I watched it, he threw well. There was no hesitation in his delivery. I don’t know what the gun readings might have been, but he felt good, he looked good. And then afterwards spoke to him, he was kind of upbeat about the whole thing," Maddon said.

If Morrow can return some time during the series against the Diamondbacks, he will be welcome relief for a bullpen that's worked without him since mid-July and lost Pedro Strop on Thursday. The question at first, however, will be how Morrow gets used.

"I will throw in whatever inning Joe puts me in. I’m comfortable pitching wherever," Morrow said. "The downsides are I can’t throw back to back, and they’re going to keep an eye on my pitch count the first couple times out too."

Maddon was a little more clear, saying that he did not -- at least for now -- intend to use Morrow in the 9th inning when he's first activated.

"I’d rather get him a chance to break in to it a little bit," Maddon said.

Maddon added that the first couple of appearances might be centered around favorable inning matchups, just so he can get Morrow on the mound in situations where he is setting him up to be successful. The team will have to closely monitor how Morrow is feeling because the injury to his forearm is a stress reaction caused by heavy use of his elbow, so sending him to the mound in back to back days could potentially aggravate it again. There could be as many as two days off in between his first couple of appearances. Come October, that might change, but that's the reality for now.

Right now, all indications are that if Morrow feels good tomorrow, he'll be set to return very soon, and it's up to him to decide if that's the case.

"I’m the sign off," Morrow said. "If it feels the same tomorrow, I’m all good."

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