Scott Baker returned to the mound in an actual game (of the Cactus League variety) for the first time on Sunday since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. He struggled, but left the start feeling healthy.
Naturally, he felt elbow soreness the next day. Naturally, he had an MRI. And naturally, it detected inflammation and fluid build-up.
Naturally, he’s been shut down.
In the most ominous-sounding write-up in Internet history, Carrie Muskat reports in part, that:
Cubs pitcher Scott Baker had a setback, and his throwing program has been suspended indefinitely. Baker felt some discomfort in his right elbow after his first Cactus League start on [Sunday] and underwent an MRI on Monday. The results of the test were not released, and Baker was to be examined by team orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo this weekend. There’s no timetable for Baker’s return and the extent of the injury is not known.
The Cubs aren’t going to speculate wildly (publicly) about Baker’s prognosis, but there’s absolutely nothing good to be gleaned here. His mid-April return is completely out the window, and anything before mid-May would be a surprise.
On some level, you can’t feel too scorned by God’s Wrath that a guy who’s recovering from elbow surgery is having elbow problems. Still, that 95% success rate for Tommy John surgery cited by Theo Epstein when discussing the Scott Baker signing? It would feel a bit wrathful to find the Cubs falling into that 5%.
At least the news with respect to injured third baseman is better. Oh, wait. It’s not. Because of course.
Stewart, who’s been battling a “mild” quad strain, hasn’t played all Spring and still can’t run. So, he’s going to start the season on the disabled list. Per Paul Sullivan:
“I can hit and take grounders,” he said. “I just can’t run.”
Stewart said “it doesn’t feel like” it’s been healing, despite the prolonged rest this spring. Stewart will meet with manager Dale Sveum and the training staff this morning to assess his status.
“I know what it’s like to play through pain,” Stewart said. “That’s what’s hard about this. I can’t get through that pain and play with it. It’s just too much.”
Luis Valbuena is your Opening Day starter at third base, with Brent Lillibridge now a lock to make the roster. They might even set up a bit of a platoon there, which could be modestly successful, but the team is worse with them expected to be regulars rather than quality depth.