Craig Kimbrel’s return to MLB action may come sooner than some fans think.

Since signing a three-year, $43 million contract with the Chicago Cubs on June 7, Kimbrel has been working toward returning to the majors. He’s pitched in two games for Triple-A Iowa over the last couple of weeks and is slated for a third outing Tuesday evening.

Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday will be “an important checkpoint” for Kimbrel.

“We’ll get together with him and make a call after that game and see what direction we go,” he told reporters Monday, according to’s Jordan Bastian.

Chicago wants to make sure Kimbrel is up to snuff before rejoining the big leagues. So they’ll rely on the 31-year-old to be honest about where he’s at.

“He’s such a pro and, obviously, a veteran,” Epstein said. “He knows himself better than anybody else. Getting his input is important. We’re getting close to the point where we’ll have established enough of a foundation where there’s an opportunity to take the next step provided he feels good with everything.”

When he does join the team, Cubs manager Joe Madden anticipates using the righty for three outs at a time. His workload could extend as September rolls around, but Madden will assure “he’ll be slotted in really carefully.”

Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images