Morrow is not expected to start throwing again until February. He missed the second half of last season because of what began as soreness in his pitching elbow and worsened to a stress-reaction bone bruise.
"Based on the rehab schedule, it could potentially affect his availability in April," Epstein said in comments published by the Chicago Sun-Times. "We'll certainly have to set things up a little bit differently the first few weeks of the season. It kind of underscores the need for depth and late-game options early in the year."
Morrow, 34, recorded 22 saves and posted a 1.47 ERA in 35 relief appearances with the Cubs last season. He had 31 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings.
Pedro Strop took over the closer's role late last season and could do the same in early 2019 unless the Cubs sign a high-profile relief pitcher through free agency. Strop had 13 saves and a 2.26 ERA in 60 relief appearances.
The Cubs also announced that Tommy Hottovy will serve as pitching coach after spending the past four seasons in a scouting and strategic role with the franchise. Hottovy replaces Jim Hickey, who stepped down from the position Nov. 20 after one season.
"Tommy's a tremendous communicator, great worker, great teammate, and he's got terrific relationships with the pitchers," Epstein said.
--Field Level Media
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