Aaron Nola Feels Good in Bullpen Session, But Timetable for Return Still Unclear

CHICAGO -- The bullpens at Wrigley Field are no longer in foul territory down the lines. As part of an ongoing renovation of the venerable but cramped old ballpark, the bullpens have been relocated and are now under the bleachers in right and left field. (Comedian Chris Elliott would love them.)

Word is the new 'pens are very nice, with tinted green Plexiglass to allow the relievers to see the game and four flat screen TVs just in case they can't.

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However, folks inside the ballpark cannot see into the bullpens. The scoreboard provides updates on who is warming up during the game.

Four hours before the game, there are no updates on the scoreboard, so you'll have to trust us on this one:

Aaron Nola tested his achy back with a bullpen session at Wrigley on Monday afternoon. He felt some soreness and stiffness in his last one Friday at Dodger Stadium. This one was better.

"It went well, felt good, better than the last one," Nola said shortly after finishing. "The ball was coming out of my hand better. It felt good. We'll see how it is when I stop moving and cool down."

A better gauge of Nola's progress will come on Tuesday when team athletic trainers see how he bounces back.

Nola threw three 15-pitch intervals, three up-and-downs, as they say, to simulate innings and inning breaks.

"The third one felt the best of all so that's a good sign," the pitcher said. "It still felt a little sore from the last time, but it felt a lot better. If it was hurting like it did the other day I couldn't have done three up-and-downs."

Nola suffered the lower back strain on April 20. He became eligible to come off the disabled on Monday and hopes to be activated later in the week. However, that seems ambitious. Team officials will be cautious with Nola and there's always the chance he could be asked to make a minor-league rehab start.

Nick Pivetta is filling Nola's spot in the rotation.

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