Kimbrel was slated to do most of his spring training work toward the end of camp but will instead need to ramp up quickly whenever the regular season is able to begin, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. After Kimbrel missed all of last spring training, the Cubs' plan this year was to ease him into Cactus League play and then ramp their closer up over the final week or so of camp. The coronavirus pandemic abruptly changed those plans, meaning Kimbrel will have to hit the ground running whenever the season starts. The 31-year-old struggled out of the gates last year and never really got comfortable in Chicago, and he wasn't off to a great start this spring either with a 10.13 ERA, albeit in just 2.2 innings of work. Fantasy owners would have preferred to see Kimbrel find some success before the regular season started, but they'll instead have to trust that he can find the form that made him a dominant reliever over the previous eight years.
Kimbrel allowed two runs on three hits while retiring just two batters in Sunday's Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The positive here is that Kimbrel recorded both of his outs via strikeout, but it's hard to be encouraged by how the veteran closer has looked so far this spring. Kimbrel's ERA sits at 16.20, though he's logged just 1.2 innings, so of course the small sample size warning applies. The 31-year-old won't ultimately be judged by Cactus League results, but after posting a 6.53 ERA last season, it would be nice to see him turn in a few strong outings before camp ends.
Kimbrel allowed one run on one hit in an inning of work during Wednesday's Cactus League game against the Reds. He struck out two. Outside of a solo home run he allowed to Derek Dietrich, Kimbrel was fairly sharp in his spring training debut. The Chicago closer had a rough 2019 with a 6.53 ERA and 1.60 WHIP across 20.2 innings, but perhaps going through a more normal routine heading into the season will help him get back on track.
Kimbrel is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Wednesday, Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Kimbrel has been easing into spring training work, but he's scheduled to throw a bullpen Monday ahead of his first scheduled game action Wednesday. The 31-year-old joined the Cubs in June last season but experienced some struggles as he posted a career-worst 6.53 ERA and 1.60 WHIP as he converted on 13 of his 16 save chances. Although the right-hander's fastball velocity dipped slightly in 2019, he'll look to return to his past efficiency heading into 2020.
Kimbrel, who is set for seven to eight Cactus League appearances, won't appear in an official spring training game for a while as he works on the side, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. The veteran has a set spring routine, which is something he missed in a down 2019 campaign as he remained unsigned until June. The 31-year-old is hoping the return to normalcy helps him regain his form from 2018, when he posted a 2.74 ERA, though his fastball velocity has dropped a few ticks each of the past two seasons.
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