Right-hander Tony Barnette was optioned to Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Thursday that he will limit Kimbrel to three-out saves for now.
"I need him to tell me on a daily basis how he's feeling. I will listen to him," he said.
Kimbrel, a seven-time All-Star closer, completed his minor league assignment Tuesday and traveled to Chicago on Wednesday. He pitched in four games for Iowa, allowing one run and two hits in 3⅔ innings. The right-hander worked a clean ninth with two strikeouts Tuesday in Iowa's 5-1 victory over Omaha, throwing 16 pitches.
Kimbrel and the Cubs finalized a three-year, $43 million contract on June 7. Kimbrel, 31, has 333 career saves, including 42 last season for World Series champion Boston.
ESPN's Jesse Rogers and The Associated Press contributed to this report.