Cubs shut down flamethrowing hurler for season, surgery could be next

As if the Chicago Cubs needed more bad news, their bullpen suffered a brutal injury update on Wednesday.

Chicago’s ‘pen is currently No. 20 in Major League Baseball in ERA (4.28), combining for 20 saves in 37 save opportunities for the Cubs this season. Inconsistent relief pitching has been a contributor to Chicago’s underwhelming 39-48 record this year, with injuries playing a central role in this inconsistency.

The trend continued this week, with Cubs manager Craig Counsell providing a troubling update on his 30-year-old reliever.

Andy Martínez of Marquee Sports Network reported on Wednesday evening that Yency Almonte is likely out for the season after receiving a grim second opinion on his right shoulder strain.

Almonte was moved from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day IL by Chicago last week, and now the Cubs are adjusting to news that Almonte won’t be available anytime soon.

Almonte has been instructed by doctors to completely stop throwing activities and rest his ailing elbow for the time being. Surgery could be in play.

“(Almonte) didn’t get great news in terms of continuing the throwing,” Counsell said, per Martínez. “So, he’s right now just thinking about what to do here. It’s strengthen or consider surgical option. He’s gonna have to stop throwing and take some more rest and then make a decision as to what’s next.”

There’s no timeline for Almonte’s return, but it would be illogical for the Cubs to expect any availability from him this season (75 games remaining).

Almonte being shut down is yet another nail in the coffin for Chicago’s bullpen, and it’s especially disheartening given the legitimate value that Almonte was providing before getting injured at the start of May.

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“He was developing into one of Counsell’s trusted relievers,” Martínez said. “After allowing 4 earned runs in 2 innings across his first 4 outings, Almonte had a 1.32 ERA in 13.2 innings across 13 appearances with a .089 batting average against.”

Almonte, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in January 2024, is under team control for one more season.

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