Closer Hector Rondon might be available Sunday
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter June 14, 2014 10:00PM
Updated: June 14, 2014 10:40PM
PHILADELPHIA — Cubs closer Hector Rondon, who was held back in recent days because of elbow soreness, fared well in a throwing session Saturday and could return to pitching as soon as the series finale Sunday against the Phillies, manager Rick Renteria said.
“He got through an 11-pitch pen,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘He threw breaking balls. He didn’t have any setbacks. And we’ll see how he feels [Sunday morning], how he reacts.”
Said Rondon: “I feel really good. Everything’s normal right now.”
Rondon, who had Tommy John surgery in 2010 that required a follow-up procedure less than two years later, hasn’t pitched since a rough ninth inning June 6 against the Marlins.
But he said he didn’t start feeling “a little sore, like tight” until midweek in Pittsburgh.
Renteria and Rondon downplayed the level of concern, even considering Rondon’s past problems with the elbow.
“We were just erring on the side of caution,” Renteria said.
Part of that might be Rondon’s heightened awareness after multiple years of rehab.
“I’ve had too many surgeries before,” Rondon said, “so as soon as I feel something in my elbow, I go talk to the trainer. I don’t want to be in that [situation] again.”
Cubs rookie Mike Olt snapped an 0-for-20 slump with a home run against the Phillies.
It was his 10th homer, second on the team. On the other hand, he has only eight singles and a .152 batting average and no longer has a starting job at third.
“It’s been really weird,” he said after the Cubs’ 7-4 loss. “I probably forget how to just get a rollover single or something. But I guess you could take some positives out of everything. That’s what I’ll do and continue to work on it and figure it out.”
Olt, who struck out twice and flied to right in his other at-bats, said he feels better at the plate in the last few games and blamed some of the depth and length of his issues to pressing.
“I wanted to figure it out pretty quick, and that may have hindered me doing it,” he said.
As expected, MRI results revealed that injured leadoff hitter Emilio Bonifacio suffered an oblique strain on that painful swing leading off the game Thursday in Pittsburgh. The Cubs offered no timeline for his return from the often-tricky injury, which could sideline him well beyond the All-Star break.
◆ After winning Friday, the Cubs still have not won back-to-back games on a road trip as their major-league-worst road record fell to 12-25. They’re 2-4 during this 10-game trip.
◆ The Cubs haven’t won a road series since Sept. 9-11, 2013, in Cincinnati.