Chicago Cubs bullpen falters in initial trial sans reliever Julian Merryweather, out for minimum of one month

The Chicago Cubs received updated information regarding reliever Julian Merryweather, who was placed on the 15-day injured list on Sunday.

Initially reported as a right shoulder strain, further examinations revealed that Merryweather is dealing with a rib stress fracture in his back, as announced by manager Craig Counsell. Merryweather is slated to undergo a four-week shutdown period, after which Chicago will have a clearer picture of his recovery timeline. A ramp-up period is expected before he can be activated.

Losing Merryweather is a significant setback for the Cubs’ bullpen, as he had been performing well, building on his success from the previous season, his first with the team.

During the previous campaign, Merryweather posted a 5-1 record with a 3.38 ERA across 69 games, pitching 72 innings, striking out 98 batters, and issuing 36 walks. He recorded two saves and 17 holds.

Before his injury, the right-hander had made four appearances, tallying six strikeouts and two walks over 4.1 innings while maintaining a 1.93 ERA.

In Merryweather’s absence, Daniel Palencia is expected to continue contributing to the Cubs’ bullpen. Palencia was recalled from Triple-A on Sunday following Merryweather’s placement on the injured list.

Palencia made his debut with the Cubs last year, compiling a 5-3 record with a 4.45 ERA over 28.1 innings across 27 games, including two holds. He struck out 33 batters and issued 14 walks. Palencia began last season at Triple-A.

The Cubs are currently in San Diego for a three-game series against the Padres, followed by matchups against the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks as they continue their west coast road trip.

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