So many updates …
- Scott Baker: The forgotten starter has finally started throwing again after suffering a March setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. It was just light throwing from 45 feet, but it’s a start. There’s no time table for his return, but the internetz were made for speculating: let’s give it a month before he’s back on the mound, and then three weeks of mound sessions before he faces batters. That puts him on a rehab assignment in late June, with the possibility of being big-league-ready at some point in July. That’s a very rough guess, and assumes no further setbacks.
- Kyuji Fujikawa: The Cubs’ reliever, recovering from a forearm strain, threw off of the mound for the first time since hitting the DL, and although he was not “real crisp” according to Dale Sveum (per Cubs.com), it was still a successful 32 pitches. He’ll have another bullpen session this week before heading to AAA Iowa for a rehab stint on Sunday.
- Ian Stewart: At this point, it seems like the performances of Luis Valbuena, Cody Ransom and Stewart, himself, have as much to do with him remaining at Iowa as does anything to do with his quad or wrist. In 47 plate appearances, he’s hitting just .111/.298/.139. It’s still his Spring Training, though, so you’ll cut him a little slack. Still, the clock is ticking on his rehab assignment – according to my count, he’s got just four days left before he reaches the 20-day maximum for a positional player’s rehab stint.
- Matt Garza: As of today, Garza is still scheduled to start tomorrow for AA Tennessee, in his first rehab start. If that goes well, he’ll have at least two – and probably three – more rehab starts before rejoining the Cubs.
- Arodys Vizcaino and Junior Lake: I’ve actually got nothing on either youngster, but I like to mention them here to remind folks that we’re still waiting on them to return to minor league action. Vizcaino (Tommy John surgery) has been throwing (at last check, at least, which was quite some time ago), but he has not been appearing in extended Spring Training games (per a perusal of TCR’s ExST games). Lake (broken rib) was expected to miss just four to six weeks when he suffered the injury back in the second week of March. It’s been about seven weeks now, and he still isn’t playing in extended Spring Training games. Not sure if there’s been an aggravation of the injury or a mere slow recovery. There probably isn’t a huge rush, given that the Cubs want to give the vast majority of the third base starts at Iowa to Stewart right now. But that fact wouldn’t be keeping Lake out of action altogether. (UPDATE: Per BN’er Melanie in the comments, Vizcaino has been training with AA Tennessee since the Smokies’ season began. Excellent. We have something.)
- Josh Vitters: He’s been playing in extended Spring Training games, and reportedly could come off DL as soon as today. He’s over his back and quad issues, and is just about ready to get his season underway. Where he’ll be playing for Iowa, however, remains an interesting question.
- Albert Almora: The Cubs’ big-time center field prospect (hamate bone removal) finally returned to the field yesterday in an extended Spring Training game. The Cubs batted him every inning, so it’s clear that he’s getting an accelerated preparation stretch. With a couple weeks in Arizona, he could be ready to head to Kane County by mid-May, if not sooner.