Underwood was optioned to Double-A Tennessee on Monday, Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago reports. Underwood will head back to a level where he struggled at last year, posting a 4.91 ERA and missing significant time with an undisclosed injury before ending his year in High-A Myrtle Beach. The 22-year-old will look to work his way up through the Cubs' minor league ranks in 2017, although he remains a long way away from the majors.
Underwood was added to the Cubs' 40-man roster on Friday. Underwood had a trying 2016 season, struggling at Double-A Tennessee to the tune of a 4.91 ERA and missing significant time with an undisclosed injury. He should be in line for a return to Tennessee after he ended 2016 at High-A Myrtle Beach, but likely remains a long way from the majors.
Underwood is rehabbing an undisclosed injury with the Arizona Rookie League Cubs. He took the mound for one scoreless inning in Arizona on Monday, giving up one hit while striking out two. That marked the first time he has pitched in a game since July 5. It's encouraging to see that Underwood is on the rehab trail, as that means he was not dealing with a serious arm injury, but this has still been close to a lost year for a guy who started the season as the top pitching prospect in the Cubs' system. Prior to the injury he had posted a 4.83 ERA, 1.64 WHIP and 48:31 K:BB in 59.2 innings with Double-A Tennessee. He could be a nice bounce-back candidate in 2017 if he can get healthy, but it is obvious that his stock is much lower than it was at the start of this season.
Underwood gave up one run in four innings against Double-A Jackson on Friday, but he also gave up four hits, two walks, and hit a batter. Underwood got off to a late start this year due to an elbow injury, but he's struggled all season for Tennessee. He's 0-4 with a 5.12 ERA in 10 starts and has walked 24 in 45.2 innings. Though he's still considered one of the best pitching prospects in the Cubs' system, Underwood appears to have a lot of work to do.
Underwood (elbow) returned to the hill Friday for Double-A Tennessee, allowing one run on four hits and one walk while striking out two over four innings. The Cubs' top pitching prospect appears to be past the elbow stiffness that kept him back at extended spring training for the first month of the season. This is excellent news, as dynasty league owners no longer have to worry about the injury turning into something more serious. Underwood should stick at Double-A for most of the season, but could be heard from in single-season leagues in 2017.
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