The Chicago Cubs optioned relief pitcher Rafael Dolis to Triple-A Iowa this morning. This makes me believe that the many reports from the last few days are true and former closer Kyuji Fujikawa will return from the DL to the Cubs’ bullpen this weekend against the Washington Nationals.
Fujikawa completed his round of rehab appearances on Wednesday with the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate in Tennessee. He pitched two innings of shut-out ball, only giving up one hit and not walking or striking out a batter. Fujikawa made 16 pitches on Wednesday, 10 of which were strikes. Reports were that he looked very good and a return was obviously right around the corner.
With Fujikawa returning, manager Dale Sveum has made it obvious that Kevin Gregg would remain the closer. Gregg has been amazing since the Cubs signed him to a minor league deal on April, 14. He has yet to allow a run in 8.1 innings pitched, while picking up five saves. If Gregg can keep this up and Fujikawa returns to form quickly, I think the Chicago bullpen could be a strength on this team.
They have guys like James Russell and Shawn Camp, who have not pitched well so far this year but have a history of success and should return to being solid relief pitchers soon. Also, they have young talented pitchers like Michael Bowden and Hector Rondon, who have both shown outstanding stuff at times this season.
Add that to Gregg and Fujikawa, along with the wildcard that is former closer Carlos Marmol, and it seems like the Cubs have the makings of a solid bullpen.