No structural damage for C.J. Edwards

MILWAUKEE – The Chicago Cubs got good news on top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards as an MRI performed Friday revealed no structural damage, only some inflammation.

“Tremendous sigh of relief,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s not structural, just fatigue. Some inflammation and we’ll give him a little break.”

The plan is for Edwards to rest for a few weeks before starting a throwing program. The 22-year-old right-hander experienced discomfort recently during a bullpen session between starts at Double-A Tennessee, where he’s 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA. He’s also struck out 20 in 20.2 innings pitched.

The Cubs are hopeful they dodged a bullet, as Edwards is on a path to the big leagues after being named minor league pitcher of the year last season. He was acquired for Chicago's Friday opponent, Matt Garza, in a five-player trade with the Texas Rangers last July.

Edwards is a key component to the Cubs' rebuilding program, as he represents the best hope for an ace or at least No. 2 pitcher from their farm system. ESPN.com rated him the No. 67 prospect in baseball as he helped Single-A Daytona to the Florida State League championship in 2013 after arriving from the Rangers organization.

Team president Theo Epstein half-joked over the winter that the Cubs had been fortunate -- despite so much criticism -- that their top minor league players had mostly been healthy and saw improvement in 2013. He figured that, at some point, something could set them back based on the law of averages. A major injury to Edwards would have qualified.