Hiroki Kuroda’s past neck problems “have resurfaced”

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Hiroki Kuroda failed to make it out of the fifth inning yesterday and afterward admitted that the neck problems he’s struggled with in previous seasons are once again an issue.

Kuroda downplayed the severity, telling Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that “compared to what it’s been in the past it’s very mild.” However, he’s allowed 12 runs in his last 16.2 innings and explained: “My front shoulder has been opening up too quickly and my release point is off.”

Hernandez notes that Kuroda is scheduled to make three more starts this season, and is seven innings away from earning a $175,000 bonus and 17 innings away from getting another $200,000 bonus. That’s plenty of incentive to continue pitching through the pain.

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.