MILWAUKEE -- Just as the Chicago Cubs were nearing full strength, righty closer Craig Kimbrel was placed on the 10-day injured list with right elbow inflammation, while shortstop Javier Baez was a late-afternoon scratch due to a thumb injury. Kimbrel will be out at least another week as the move is retroactive to Monday.
"To be on the cautious side, we had an MRI done and it showed that everything is in place, structurally, he just has a little inflammation in there," team president Theo Epstein said Thursday afternoon. "The elbow MRI was pristine like when we signed him."
Kimbrel indicated he had an issue with his elbow after his appearance on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers. He'll miss the four-game series against Milwaukee this weekend then a four-game set against the San Diego Padres next week.
Meanwhile, Baez was supposed to return to the lineup on Thursday after jamming his thumb in Sunday's game, but late in the team's batting practice session they announced a change as Addison Russell will now play short. The Cubs do return third baseman Kris Bryant to the lineup after he missed Tuesday's contest with a nagging right knee ailment.
"There's always nicks and bruises and you have to deal with it," Bryant said. "Hitting the base hard isn't fun but I'm still trying to figure out how to hit first base with my left leg instead of my right leg."
Bryant says the injury, which first occurred a couple months ago, probably won't properly heal until the offseason. As for closing duties, manager Joe Maddon said he'll play the matchup game come the ninth inning. Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler or Rowan Wick are the likely candidates for a save.
"Expect him back next week if things go according to plan," Epstein said of Kimbrel.