Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

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.

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