Cubs closer Brandon Morrow

Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports

Cubs' Morrow Undergoes Cleanup Elbow Surgery

Brandon Morrow's availability for the start of the 2019 season is in doubt.

December 06, 2018 - 2:58 pm

(670 The Score) Cubs closer Brandon Morrow underwent an arthroscopic surgery on his elbow on Nov. 6 and may not be ready for the start of the 2019 season, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Thursday.

Epstein described the procedure as a cleanup of cartilage and indicated Morrow is recovering well. His target date to start throwing again is Feb. 6, but he'll have a long road to ramp up from there, thus creating uncertainty around his availability for the start of the regular season.

This revelation is the latest in a long list of health troubles for the 34-year-old Morrow, who missed the second half of the 2018 season because of a bone bruise in his biceps. When Morrow hit the disabled list in mid-July, it was expected that he would make a return before season's end, but he continued to have stalled progress and setbacks. The Cubs had previously indicated Morrow wouldn't need offseason surgery when asked specifically about his biceps issue. 

When healthy, Morrow was terrific for the Cubs, posting a 1.47 ERA and converting 22 of 24 save opportunities before being sidelined in mid-July. It was actually a June 2 game that Epstein pinpointed as a setback for Morrow, who was supposed to be unavailable that day but appeared in the bottom of the 14th after the Cubs had taken a 7-1 lead against the Mets with a six-run outburst in the top half. The team's victory marked Morrow's third straight day of work and fourth appearance in five days then.

Morrow is under contract through 2019, with a $12-million team option and $3-million buyout for 2020 as well.