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Cubs’ Strop “frustrated, a little sad”, by comeback setback

Pedro Strop is helped off the field after sustaining an apparent injury while fielding a ball against the Los Angeles Angels on August 10. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Just when Pedro Strop was feeling confident he was on track for an early return to the Cubs’ bullpen, he is now dealing with the disappointment of having to wait a bit longer.

Strop, who underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus last month, is now looking at a mid-September return after straining his groin during a workout this week. Strop said Friday he was on the final set of a leg workout with a 50-pound weight when the injury occurred.

“Things happen,” Strop said. “The only thing I can say is, it is what it is and I look forward to getting better.”

Strop tore his meniscus on Aug. 10 and was scheduled to be out 4-6 weeks. Strop said trainers had told him he was ahead of schedule and was within a few days of making a minor-league rehab start when the groin injury occurred.

With Strop and set-up man Hector Rondon both on the disabled list, manager Joe Maddon has been forced to shuffle his relief pitching options. But after Joe Smith and Carl Edwards, Jr., had impressive showings in Thursday night’s 5-4 win over the Giants as well as the progress Rob Zastryzny has made, Maddon said Friday morning that he is feeling good about where his bullpen is until his two mainstays can return.

With closer Aroldis Chapman unavailable, Edwards preserved the one-run lead Thursday night with pitching a scoreless ninth inning while dealing with the heart of the Giants’ lineup.

“(Edwards) knew we were counting on him,” Maddon said. “We didn’t have to say it, he knew that. That’s absolutely a growth moment for him.”

With the exception of a five-day break, Strop has been throwing normally since his surgery as a way of keeping his arm fresh while his knee heals. Strop said he hasn’t experienced any discomfort in his knee while playing catch, which was an encouraging sign he was ready to begin the final stages of his rehabilitation before he had the setback in the weight room.

Strop said this week’s setback wasn’t as emotionally taxing as when he injured his knee last month. But as anxious as he is to be part of the Cubs’ push for a Central Division title and beyond, Strop admitted he is frustrated by what’s expected to be a week-long delay.

“I was really worried if I was done for the season or not,” Strop said. “So after they told me I was going to be back, I was fine, working hard and doing whatever I could to come back as soon as possible.

“When I felt something in my groin a couple of days ago, I’m not going to lie – I was frustrated a little hit and I was sad a little bit because I was a step away from (coming) back…But I’m fine. I’m fine.”

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