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gods-wrathWould-be Chicago Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart is running at about 80 percent, but is able to take batting and fielding practice without issue. So, you’d like to think he’s very close to returning. As of a couple days ago, it was looking like he could return to game action later this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

Not so, says Dale Sveum.

“It’s looking like the weekend now,” Sveum told the media yesterday, per the Tribune. “They’re still feeling it, both he and [Josh] Vitters. They’re still feeling stiffness when they’re jogging at 80 percent. Hopefully, maybe this weekend, but now it seems to be getting pushed back every day.”

This ongoing injury really bums me out, not because I necessarily believed Stewart was going to blow up this year, but because I believe the Cubs can’t surprise to the upside without someone like Stewart breaking out. Further, even if Luis Valbuena, for example, could closely approximate what a healthy Stewart could do, can the next utility guy on the depth chart approximate what Valbuena can do?

Like it or lump it, losing Stewart completely probably makes the Cubs worse. The longer he deals with this quad issue, then, the more my hopes wane.

At least Stewart is more optimistic than Sveum.

“It may be even earlier than [Friday],” Stewart said yesterday, per ESPN. “ Yesterday we tried running and there was a little tightness at around 80 percent. I basically did everything I need to do to prepare for a game. Now it is just the running part of it .”

There’s been a great deal of discussion this Spring about Stewart’s “non-guaranteed” deal, and how the Cubs can save a little money if they cut him before the Spring ends. Gordon Wittenmyer says Stewart’s odds of sticking on the team are shrinking with every day he doesn’t play. Bruce Levine and Paul Sullivan, however, say cutting Stewart really isn’t a realistic option.

My position has always been that (1) cutting guys on these arbitration-level, non-guaranteed deals is extraordinarily rare; and (2) the small chance that Stewart becomes a valuable player this year (to the Cubs, or in trade) is worth more than the $1.5 million they’d save by cutting him at the end of the Spring – even if he’s a little banged up. So, no, I don’t see the Cubs cutting Stewart.

  • Jim

    How about the Cubs renegotiate with Stewart at a lower base salary with incentives? That way they could basically cut him and resign him at a rate that protects the Cubs in case his injuries persist.

  • Silly rabbit

    Stewart makes more headlines by being a bum, than the sub par player that he actually is – providing when he is not hurt. Biggest carrot ive seen in a while, while the Cubs continue to be the donkey, mule and the longer it takes the azz .
    Cheers to Stewart in making the Cubs look like the Jacka…….

  • ActionJackson

    Yeah I don’t see them cutting Stewart before the season. Might as well have him on the roster to start the season and see how he performs when healthy and if it is not what they expected or want they can release him them.

    • Seth

      I completely expect this to happen.

  • Seth

    There’s a report that the Yankee’s are trying to get Derek Lee out of retirement to play first base for them with Teixiera out.

    https://twitter.com/ChiTribRogers/status/311127506080129024

  • @cubsfantroy

    It saddens me as a fan of Ian that he is consistently injured. Hopefully he can overcome this and still make the team.

  • 1060Ivy

    Funny how the discussion has gone from, ‘Will finally Stewart return to be a productive third base option?’ to ‘Will Stewart be healthy enough to make the team?’ in fairly short order.

    The guy seems to have been battling health issues for multiple seasons and continues to have health issues this spring.

    Unfortunately, he may never be the option the Cubs need for third even if he returns from the quad injury and his wrist fully heals.

  • JR

    Durability is an overlooked skill for MLB players. This is a skill Stewart sucks at, and Garza is looking to be pretty crappy at that skill as well.

  • http://ehanauer.com clark addison

    Sounds like another one of Rogers’ fantasy deals.

  • Curt

    why is this bum still here, how many ppl ever feel 100%, and if the cubs don’t cut Stewart how long do they carry him, I mean does he Dl , can they send him down, I guess I don’t get the loyalty that’s being extended to him, and how much worse could it make them, pretty soon his leg will fall off like garzas arm,just one time though I’d like one of these injuries be what they originally say it is and not some ongoing process .

  • Lou

    Well, Miguel Tejada may very well be available. On a 1 yr deal, it’s better at this point that anything the Cubs currently have.

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