Brad Lidge hoping for return to game action next week

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Brad Lidge threw a problem-free bullpen session this morning and afterward told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he’s hoping to return to game action within 3-4 days.

Lidge has been sidelined for a week with right biceps tendinitis, but said his arm “felt really good” while throwing 35 pitches today and is scheduled for another bullpen session Sunday.

Zolecki also asked Lidge about his decreased velocity prior to the injury, but the closer seemed unconcerned: “It’s coming. My pop will never be there until the first game I’m closing during the regular season.”

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.