It’s been ages since God has placed His wrathful thumb on the collective neck of the Chicago Cubs. That is to say, there haven’t been many injury issues in quite a while. Of course, it hasn’t much mattered, as the Cubs have stunk up the joint anyway.

But wrath can be long-lasting. To wit, Cubs’ young pitcher Andrew Cashner, who has been out since the first start of the season with a strained rotator cuff, may not pitch again this season.

Cashner was set to return in late-June/early-July when he aggravated his shoulder injury, which pushed back his return to August or September. Now he might not return at all.

Although Cashner’s recovery and rehab from the aggravation has gone as scheduled, Cubs’ manager Mike Quade doesn’t sound particularly optimistic that Andrew Cashner will pitch again this season.

“I’d like to think there’s some baseball in the future for him this winter for sure, and to my way of thinking, if it’s quicker than that, great,” Quade¬†said.¬†“But that would be the target I have for him.”

The question of when Cashner should return, even if he’s able to return in September, is a difficult one. On the one hand, the young pitcher is expected to be an important part of the organization’s future, and it isn’t worth rushing him back to pitch in a few meaningless September games.

On the other hand, if Cashner doesn’t pitch again this year, that means that, by the time he returns in April 2012, he will not have faced big league hitters in a full year. That could make for a difficult return (and could risk further stunting his already stunted development).

I’m not sure there’s a right answer, but I do know that I’d like to see Cashner throwing healthily again soon. There aren’t an impressive number of reasons to be excited about the future of the franchise, but Cashner was – and is – one of them.

  • Robbo

    No need to rush Cashner back. We are still trying to see what we have with Rodrigo Lopez, which is why he will start again Tuesday. Sure, he’s been in MLB for 10 seasons, has a losing record, an ERA around 5, and is approaching 36 years old, but hey maybe next year will be his year to turn things around.

    • Brett

      Upside potential. Now is not the time for bold changes. Lopez has chemistry.

    • Ian Afterbirth

      He’s scrappy.

  • Mike Foster

    I see a number of reasons to be excited about the future. First we might soon be rid of Hendry! Then we have some exciting young players in Castro, Campana and Barney. Cashner too when healthy. Think you’re just a bit too pessimistic here Brett. Yeah I’m not happy with this year, but now till the end I want to see some good baseball and new faces given some playing time. Plus beating the Cardinals as often as possible! And finally, remember it is only 11 days and approx 5 hours till beaning time for Matt Holliday!

    • Brett

      Ha, Mike. You keep saying that, but i fear you’re going to be disappointed about Holliday.

      • NyN

        You’re right Brett. Most of this sissy team thinks it was a clean, hard slide. Maybe the majority of this year’s Cubs problems are much like that of the great Pedro Cerrano, no marbles…

        • MichiganGoat

          All we need is Jobu and some hats for bats.

  • Mike Foster

    I’m going for the groundswell of angry Cub fans that Quade won’t be able to ignore…yeah, right.

  • RY

    wow no shock here, knowing the cubs, they will force him out there to get win number 63 in the last week of the season, and then realize after the game, he hurt himself again and will need surgery which will keep him out all of 2012. why the hell are we even debating whether or not he will pitch again; him pitching this year means nothing!

  • BFM

    Finally Quade is making a good decision when it comes to the pitchers.
    Rushing Cashner would be horrible. I think the lesser of two evils is to let him rehab and see where he is come spring time.


  • Deez

    Only one way to build arm strength.
    He hasn’t pitched this year!
    Hey, isn’t Stratsburg pitching!?

    • Brett

      Indeed. Strasburg will probably be back in the bigs in a few weeks.