CHICAGO – As someone who is a relatively good mood when around the Cubs’ locker room, it wasn’t a surprise to see a big smile on Pedro Strop’s face on Tuesday.
That’s because the closer was finally able to enter the clubhouse at Wrigley Field as an active member of the team on Tuesday.
It comes after he missed nearly an entire month due to a hamstring strain, which sidelined him after a blown save against the Marlins at Wrigley Field on May 6th. Manager Joe Maddon said that Strop will take back his spot as the closer immediately, and is ready to face the Rockies on Tuesday night if necessary.
“It just feels amazing, knowing that you’re gonna be able to help the team tonight,” said Strop. “I feel 100 percent.”
That’s a relief for the Cubs, who’ve had a closer by committee since he left the lineup. Strop didn’t have a ton of opportunities in the first five weeks of the season – just six, in fact – but he did convert four of them and was the team’s most reliable option in that spot with Brandon Morrow sidelined till the All-Star break at the least.
Strop was eager to return to the bullpen, especially when they’ve shown some struggles over the past two weeks, but he remained the patient with what sometimes can be a trick hamstring rehabilitation. He made three relief appearances in Iowa before he finally got the call-up, and will continue to watch the injury as he returns to the lineup.
“The hamstring is really tricky. Sometimes you do too much and then you kinda fatigue and then you’re pitching and doing all that stuff, it could be dangerous,” said Strop. “We’re just going to keep on top of it.”
At least he can do so back in the place that he loves.