CHICAGO — The Cubs might gain more clarity Monday about whether injured closer Brandon Morrow could join them by the end of the season.
Morrow threw 25 pitches off the mound Sunday in what was described as a "touch-and-feel" session. The Cubs want to be sure Morrow, who hasn't pitched in a game since July 15 due to biceps inflammation, feels fine before they plan his next step.
The light session was much less intense than what was initially forecast. The Cubs hope to determine by next weekend whether he could pitch in a game this season. Manager Joe Maddon has all but ruled out Morrow being healthy enough to pitch on consecutive days if he returns.
The Cubs also hope to learn more about the condition of outfielder Jason Heyward, who is recovering from a Grade 1 right hamstring strain he suffered Aug. 30 while attempting to make a diving catch in Atlanta.
Home sweet home
The Cubs will play 16 of their final 20 games in Chicago, starting with Monday night's series opener against the rival Brewers at Wrigley Field and including the Sept. 21-23 interleague series against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
"I feel fine," said shortstop Addison Russell, who has battled several nagging injuries during the second half of the season. "I'm ready for this last stretch we have. Mentally and physically, I feel great.
"It's not just me. I see it in everyone else. We're ready for these next couple days and finish this month strong and hopefully clinch a (playoff) spot."
Russell believes the home crowd will provide a lift, especially with the Cubs being on the road since Aug. 30.
"It seems like we've been away from home for two weeks, and whenever we go back to Chicago, the fans are electric and always supporting us," Russell said. "There are big crowds, even on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays, showing us love. That's something we take pride in."