Cubs place closer Kimbrel on IL with right knee inflammation

CHICAGO (AP) – The Chicago Cubs have placed closer Craig Kimbrel on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation, and All-Star catcher Willson Contreras will miss the next four weeks with a right hamstring strain.

The injuries are a pair of significant blows for the NL Central-leading Cubs, who are trying to hold off St. Louis and Milwaukee to win the division for the third time in four years.

Kimbrel says his knee started bothering him while he was closing out Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Brewers. The IL stint is retroactive to Sunday, and Kimbrel thinks he will be ready when he is eligible to return.

Contreras also got hurt Saturday. He had an MRI on Monday that showed a Grade 2 strain. He experienced a similar injury in 2017.

The Cubs recalled right-hander Duane Underwood Jr. before their series opener against Oakland. They also announced reliever Brad Brach cleared waivers and was released.

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