Cubs closer Brandon Morrow to miss beginning of season

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs closer Brandon Morrow confirmed he'll miss the beginning of the season after undergoing minor elbow surgery in November. The oft-injured Morrow missed the final three months of 2018.

"I'm feeling really good right now," he said on Wednesday morning from Cubs camp. "I wouldn't say I'd be ready for the beginning of the regular season. Right now, it's just feeling it out and seeing how I respond to throwing."

Morrow, 34, intends to throw from 90 feet this week and then slowly advance to longer distances before getting back on the mound. Though he still had some pain at the end of last season, MRIs showed no damage to his elbow. That led to a more intrusive CT scan that did find an issue. Surgery followed.

"Missing just the first month this year will be better than missing the last three months last year," Morrow said.

The reliever dismissed any notion that Joe Maddon pitched him too much, leading to the injury, though the team intimated at the time that throwing three games in a row in June led to his downfall.

"I don't think I was pushed into an injury," Morrow said. "Was just one of those things that happened."

Pedro Strop received many of the save opportunities in Morrow's absence last year, and the Cubs added veteran reliever Brad Brach this past offseason.

"I have utmost confidence in those guys," Morrow said. "They actually all have a better track record than I do as bullpen pitchers."