Strop to miss 4-6 weeks with torn meniscus

Strop to miss 4-6 weeks with torn meniscus

CHICAGO -- Cubs reliever Pedro Strop has a torn meniscus in his left knee, and will be sidelined four to six weeks, and manager Joe Maddon could call on newcomer Joe Smith to fill in the gap.

"It could've been worse -- we're going to get him back [this season], and that's a good thing," Maddon said of Strop, who will have arthroscopic surgery on Friday. An MRI on Thursday revealed that the ligaments in the knee were intact, which is good news.

"I almost cried just thinking that I might be out for the season," Strop said. "This is a special group and I want to be part of the playoffs and the World Series, if we get there."

Strop had taken over for starter Jason Hammel in the eighth inning on Wednesday against the Angels, and slid on his left leg to field an infield grounder by Yunel Escobar leading off the inning. Strop got to his feet, and was going to try to throw to first but third baseman Javier Baez grabbed him and stopped him.

Strop then tried to walk but was obviously in pain. Maddon and athletic trainer Ed Halbur came out to check on the pitcher, who had to be helped off the field. Strop hopped as he exited to avoid putting any weight on his left leg as he exited.

Strop admitted he tried to rush to make the play.

"Adrenaline took over on the slide, and I kind of stuck in the grass and the weight of my body went into the knee," Strop said. "I heard a pop but I wasn't in pain, there wasn't a sharp pain. I tried to walk back to the mound but I couldn't straighten my leg. In the beginning, I never thought it would be that bad. I never felt a sharp pain."

Give Baez an assist.

"He stopped me from throwing the ball," Strop said. "It could've been worse. The doctors said if I had turned to make the throw, it could've been worse. I appreciate Javy hugged me and didn't let me throw the ball."

The Cubs did recall right-hander Justin Grimm from Triple-A Iowa but they are short-handed in the bullpen with Hector Rondon sidelined because of tightness in his triceps. Rondon was not available Thursday and was to throw a bullpen session on Friday.

Strop, who was second among the Cubs' relievers in innings pitched with 43 2/3, was the primary setup man.

"[Without him] will give more opportunity to different guys," said Maddon, hinting that Smith, acquired Aug. 1 from the Angels for a Minor League pitcher, will likely get more work against right-handed hitters.

"It's still a really strong bullpen," Maddon said. "We're going to miss [Strop]. Stroppy is that guy who I feel really good against the other team's best hitters."

Grimm was glad to be back but felt horrible when he heard that Strop was injured.

"Strop's an unbelievable teammate, one of the best teammates I've ever had," Grimm said. "He always comes to the field with a smile on his face."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.