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Pedro Strop activated; Brandon Kintzler put on injured list

Manager Joe Maddon said Kintzler has been ‘‘fabulous’’ and probably the Cubs’ most consistent reliever all season. Strop, meanwhile, has struggled.

Brandon Kintzler was placed on the injured list before Tuesday’s game.
AP Photos

The good news for the Cubs is that Pedro Strop is back. The bad news is that fellow reliever Brandon Kintzler took his place on the injured list, throwing another challenge at the bullpen.

Before their game Tuesday against the Athletics, the Cubs activated Strop (neck tightness) and put Kintzler (inflammation in right pectoral) on the 10-day IL. Kintzler, who pitched two-thirds of an inning Monday, has been one of the Cubs’ steadiest relievers this season, stabilizing a bullpen that has suffered from numerous issues, including Strop’s subpar year.

Manager Joe Maddon said Kintzler has been ‘‘fabulous’’ and probably the Cubs’ most consistent reliever all season. The Cubs are confident that the injury isn’t serious and that the issue was caught before it became a real problem.

‘‘The guy’s been a rock for us,’’ Maddon said of Kintzler, who has a 2.33 ERA in 49 appearances. ‘‘We want him to continue to be a rock for us.’’

Maddon said he didn’t think there was anything ‘‘spectacularly wrong’’ with Kintzler, but it was better to calm it down now than let the issue get worse. As for how the injury happened, Maddon said Kintzler conceded he came out his delivery on his first pitch to the A’s Matt Olson.

‘‘When guys are getting tired or stressed or pushed and they come out of their delivery and they’re trying to manufacture velocity or movement, that’s never good,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘I think that’s what occurred, whether it was knowingly or unknowingly on his part, before the pitch was thrown.’’

Strop had a 5.20 ERA before going on the IL. At least for now, Maddon said Strop likely won’t be used on consecutive days.

Zobrist’s next move

Utility player Ben Zobrist’s next step is three games with Myrtle Beach, the Cubs’ high Class A affiliate. He will play there Thursday through Saturday after going 2-for-9 with an RBI in three games at low Class A South Bend.

Maddon said he hasn’t gotten any specific reports about Zobrist and hasn’t spoken to him but knows that he’s eager and doing well.

‘‘I know Zo well enough that he’s good enough on his little island right now, just getting prepared,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘When he needs somebody to hear him, he’ll say something. I’m just hearing that everything’s progressing well right now. He’s fine.’’

While Zobrist progresses, some of the Cubs’ youngest prospects can watch how he goes about his business, which Maddon sees as a benefit. He hopes a couple of players will process what they see.

‘‘What’s impressive is what [Zobrist] does after games, which a lot of guys don’t do,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘When you’re [young] and you’re pretty much invincible, having to work out after game is like a foreign thought. So they see this 35-year-old-plus guy that can still hit anybody’s fastball running around and then running in there afterward and doing this incredibly long workout.

‘‘It should be inspirational, I would hope.’’

The catching situation

Victor Caratini started and batted eighth. Maddon had no update about whether the Cubs were closer to adding a catcher.

The team has been linked to veteran Jonathan Lucroy, who was released Monday by the Angels and is a free agent.