Craig Kimbrel won’t be activated from the injured list Wednesday, but the Chicago Cubs closer believes he could return by this weekend.

“Hopefully just a couple more days,” Kimbrel said Tuesday after throwing his first bullpen session since being placed on the IL with right knee inflammation. “If it keeps progressing the way it is, absolutely.”

Kimbrel could return during the weekend series against the Pirates if he passes his next two tests. Kimbrel will undergo a series of fielding drills before Wednesday’s game and throw another bullpen session in a few days.

“Right now it’s seeing how I come back (Wednesday) with the general soreness,” Kimbrel said.

Fellow reliever Brandon Kintzler threw his second bullpen session Tuesday, and the Cubs are confident he will be healthy enough to be activated Friday.

NATIONALS: Greg Holland is returning to Washington, agreeing to a minor league contract, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The deal is pending a physical.

The 33-year-old Holland, who was with the Nationals last season, was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks last week.

He was 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA and 17 saves in 22 chances this season and lost the job as Arizona’s closer after a blown save in late July.

PHILLIES: Philadelphia hired former manager Charlie Manuel to replace John Mallee as hitting coach.

The 75-year-old had been working as senior adviser to the general manager.

Manuel led the Phillies to five straight division titles, two NL pennants and the franchise’s second World Series championship, in 2008.

BRAVES: Rookie outfielder Austin Riley will not need surgery on his injured right knee and expects to return to the lineup in about two weeks.

ROCKIES: Colorado designated veteran Chris Iannetta for assignment, parting ways with the club’s all-time leader among catchers in games played, runs, hits, homers, RBI and walks.

The 36-year-old hit .222 with six homers in 52 games this season.


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