This will likely come as a shock, but the Cubs announced Wednesday that erstwhile closer Brandon Morrow has experienced another setback and will be shut down for the season as another potential surgery looms. Morrow hasn’t pitched competitively since before the All-Star break last year and has undergone at least three separate procedures on his right elbow in the meantime, but the Cubs had maintained hope that he’d return.
The flame-throwing righty had recently thrown live BP, which was viewed at the time as a positive step, but his body clearly didn’t respond well. That was also the case earlier this year, when Morrow received an injection of synthetic joint lubricant after experiencing discomfort at the site of his earlier arthroscopic surgery. He then underwent a subsequent nerve hydrodissection, which he said at the time alleviated his discomfort immediately. That clearly didn’t last long.
“At this point, it’s safe to say he’s done for the year,” Theo Epstein told reporters prior to Wednesday’s game. “He’s going to go see Dr. (Neal) ElAttrache on Monday and the likely next step for him will be a radial nerve release and decompression surgically. While that’s not set in stone, it looks like that’s where it’s headed.”
Theo on Morrow’s season-ending injury pic.twitter.com/mnBcdOuWTA
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) August 21, 2019
This is almost certainly the end of the road for Morrow and the Cubs, unless Epstein gets a wild hair and decides to pick up that $12 million club option for 2020. After starting out with all kinds of promise, hitting 100 mph and looking untouchable at times, Morrow’s tenure can only be viewed with great disappointment. There will also be plenty of questions due to his checkered injury history and the failure to shut him down earlier last season.
If there’s a positive spin to this, it’s that the Cubs aren’t going to be counting on anything from Morrow and can officially move on.