Rainout, Injuries, OBP Woes, and Other Pick-Me-Ups and Other Bullets

angry newspaperWe’re waiting on Kyuji Fujikawa’s MRI results today. He had the MRI yesterday, but the team orthopedist was unavailable in surgery all day, so the scan won’t be read until today. Everyone’s hoping it’s just the same forearm strain that cost him a month earlier in the year. I am nervous.

  • In case you didn’t stay up to find out the inevitable, the Cubs/Sox game last night was rained out in the early going (which totally makes sense, because Edwin Jackson looked like he really had it last night, and Welington Castillo had already homered off of Chris Sale). They haven’t yet scheduled the makeup day, but it isn’t going to be a doubleheader today or tomorrow.
  • Indeed, Jackson was throwing the ball with a lot of “conviction” this time around, Dale Sveum said.
  • There’s been a great deal of talk about OBP lately and how the Cubs aren’t really, you know, doing that thing all that well. GM Jed Hoyer recently spoke extensively on the subject, and you can read his thoughts here, collected by Bruce Miles together with some interesting statistical tidbits. Hoyer emphasized that the overall approach is a team-oriented one, designed to help your team face the other team’s worst pitchers (by getting the starter out early), and requires that players change their approach on a plate-appearance-by-plate-appearance basis (“If the first two guys make outs on four pitches, the next guy can’t go up and just see two pitches. He has to alter his approach in that at-bat.”). Hoyer also dug into the essential question: do you have to draft/sign guys with a disciplined approach, or can it be taught after the fact? His thoughts on the subject seem to suggest that he believes young players can be taught, but established players pretty much are who they are. Anecdotally, that seems correct.
  • New Cubs reliever Alex Burnett is excited for a chance to pitch for the Cubs.
  • Cubs and Sox players are understandably hoping they’ll be able to go watch the Red Wings/Blackhawks Game 7 tonight after their day game at Wrigley Field.
  • Outfield prospect Reggie Golden, a second round pick in 2010 who was emerging as a top 15 type in the system before an ACL injury cost him the last year of game action, has finally been sent out from Extended Spring Training. He’ll head to Low-A Kane County, which already has a modestly-crowded outfield. Mid-season promotions are coming at some point, and the Cubs will have some developmental sorting to do. Hopefully Golden gets a chance to show whether he’s back to his old self. At just 21, there’s still time for him.
  • Speaking of minor league injuries, Junior Lake’s rib/shoulder injury (it was a broken rib up near his shoulder) has apparently been more serious than originally suspected. He was expected back in action by mid-May, but obviously that ship has sailed. Tommy Birch reports that the Iowa coaches were told two weeks ago that Lake was going to be out for another six weeks (h/t to BN’er Nathan). That puts him on a late June return timeline, which really sucks given how important this year was for him developmentally. Given his 40-man roster spot (which he’s had since the Winter of 2011), I’m sure the Cubs really wanted to know, by the end of this year, whether he could be counted on as part of the 2014 team, be it as a starter or a utility man.
  • Speaking of minor league injuries Part Two, Josh Vitters is back on the disabled list, this time with a strained rib cage. The AAA Iowa third baseman missed all of Spring Training with a left quad strain, and then later missed time at Iowa with a right quad strain. He was on the DL earlier this year with a lower back strain. That’s four injuries in total for Vitters this year, and it’s still only May. As with Lake, it’s quite a bummer, given the timing.
  • All of this on the heels of yesterday’s general injury-related bummer news, and the Arodys Vizcaino elbow surgery news. Good morning!

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

47 responses to “Rainout, Injuries, OBP Woes, and Other Pick-Me-Ups and Other Bullets”

  1. Jp3

    Hmmm…. Very interesting in Kane County indeed. Chen probably isn’t getting a bump, while neither is Zapata who was batting 9th last night, Rock S maybe? He’s played well for a while now but has cooled as of late. Dare I say who has played there easily the best over the last week and plays flawless CF(though currently injured)?

    1. Noah

      If Almora keeps destroying Low A, they’ll move him up by the beginning of July in my opinion.

      1. Jp3

        I could see an aggressive move like that as long as he keeps destroying low A pitching. If he hits over .400/.450 for a month I don’t see how they could think that’d be challenging him.

        1. Justin

          Yep, Almora just needs to stay on the field for awhile regardless of where he’s at. I am curious how Almora does at Daytona. Baez went from ARod in his prime to Adam Dunn without the walks with that move.

  2. SamuraiJock

    OBP watch thus far from the regular starters:

    The good – Valbuena (.362), DeJesus (.345)
    The meh – Castillo (.325), Rizzo (.324), Schierholz (.320), Soriano (.309), Castro (.305)
    The ugly – Barney (.284), Navarro (.254), Sappelt (.229), Hairston (.164)

    Honourable mention for Sweeney (.371), Borbon (.341), Ransom (.327) in limited at-bats.

    I’d expect Rizzo and Castro to improve but not sure about the rest getting a great deal better.

    1. Jim

      Barney’s OBP isn’t really too bad in context when you consider he is hitting .200. A + .084 above the batting average would look real nice for just about anyone. Example .270 hitter with a .354 OBP. Navarro isn’t getting too much playing time so much of his is in the pinch hitting role and he isn’t going up there looking for a walk. Hairston has had some nice hits lately, but overall you are right “ugly”.

      1. Norm

        No, Barney’s OBP is pretty craptacular, no matter the context.

        And Castillo’s is only “meh” because of the ‘hit by pitches’

  3. Die hard

    Can most of these injuries be linked to Cubs training methods? If weight lifting is reason then solution is simple. If philosophy is cause then not so much and somebody should be added to brain trust who knows how to train baseball players

    1. Carew

      the professional athletes should also know how to train their own bodies

    2. AB

      Ah, I know the resident BN doctor would chime in at some point with his expert opinion.

    3. DarthHater

      I knew hiring a FO with a Nietzschean philosophy was a bad idea . . .

      1. Jp3

        Well it could be worse for said players, we could have a front office that has an euthanasic philosophy😁

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Hey, that is both what kept the Dodgers so good and the Dodger Dog so savory for years.

    4. cubchymyst

      How would weight lifting be a problem? Lifting with proper technique requires a decent amount of flexibility. Strength and flexibility are not inversely related. Its possible to be strong and flexible and the same time. As long as the Cubs are not going all Pittsburgh Pirates and putting the prospects through Navy Seal training, then training is not the likely problem. A greater focus on flexibility training might help some, but seeing how I have no clue what the current training methods are any suggesting is speculative.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Its just the Die Hardian Way, any further consideration will only result in a brain hemorrhage.

      2. Die hard

        P90X–Best wkout around for strength and flexibility

        1. Jp3

          Ok die hard you got me, it is a great workout program, not sure guys with shoulder and wrist issues should be doing the Chest and Back or shoulders and arms routines twice a week though.

          1. Die hard

            Yoga and running is best for baseball players

            1. DarthHater

              g136984009375704257.jpg

              1. Jp3

                Now why did you post that on this site?😝

          2. Die hard

            Will likely not find many hall of famers who touched weights other than the bat ring

        2. Die hard

          But not for baseball players who shouldn’t touch weights as contracts muscles

          1. Cubbie Blues

            Lifting weights does not contract muscles. It breaks down the fibers and the bodies way of keeping that from happening again is to make those fibers stronger. This is done over and over to create strength. As you are doing this you should also be stretching before and afterwards. Could it be that the contraction you are thinking of is just the excess blood in the muscle after a workout?

            1. Rich

              weight training will initially stretch the muscle..but there is a contraction along with a force. It is the time under tension ( TUT ) that is best way to create strength and power. Too many people that lift weights go to fast and use too little weight in my opinion.

              When you say stretching, it should be dynamic stretching. Static stretching can irritate the muscle spindles that actually decrease the flexibility.

              just my 2 cents.

              1. Cubbie Blues

                I don’t disagree with any of that. The TUT is where “super slows” come from.

              2. Die hard

                I alternate between p90x and Insanity wkout-

                1. Cubbie Blues

                  That is really impressive with your advanced age.

                  1. Die hard

                    6 pack abs and not bud light either

                    1. Cubbie Blues

                      Sticking to craft beer then?

                2. DarthHater

                  I think we can safely say that insanity workout is really working…

            2. Jp3

              Also the bat ring you mentioned doesn’t really speed up your bat but rather slows it down… It does however make you think you’re swinging a bat faster so I guess there’s that

  4. Spencer

    A day night doubleheader and two ballparks would certainly be fun, if not for the logistical nightmare with which it would be accompanied.

    Bummer about Lake; another example of everyone being overly optimistic about injuries and reporting (I’m talking about Cubs’ personnel, not beat writers and folks like that) they will keep players out of action less time than they actually do. That just leads to greater disappointment down the road when their DL stints are longer than expected.

    On Vitters..does this mean Stewart is going to be receiving regular ABs now?

    1. Kramden

      Okee-Doke, looks like Stewart is mentoring Vitters well in the finer points of making a nice living by getting injured.

      1. Mike Taylor (no relation)

        I LOL’d. Well played.

  5. Werner

    I guess you have to accept slumps and hits that don’t fall and etc, etc. as a pro but having a two-run home run (off an ace, no less) just erased like that has to like, you know, major league suck.

  6. Justin

    Yeah teaching a guy who has been in the league for a couple years like Castro to be more patient and take a lot more walks seems virtually impossible. I really think Castro is trying to change his approach to an extent, and it’s really hurting his overall hitting ability. I really think for the most part most even young guys like Baez aren’t going to change much. The Cubs need to draft the patient players if that’s what they want. I just want Castro to get back to where he was a couple years ago, and build on that. He’s been a terrible disappointment at the plate this year trying to make these “Cub way” changes.

  7. Jacob

    Will Almora be back in Kane County’s lineup today?

    1. Noah

      I don’t know if the Quad Cities saw the same nasty whether Chicago did yesterday, but if that’s the case I’d bet that Almora gets another day off. The minor league fields don’t rebound from a lot of rainfall the way the MLB fields do.

      1. Jacob

        The rain was pretty short lived here. I was at the Super Sectional game in the QC and it was delayed for a half hour, and then finished before anything major hit. We didn’t get hit as hard as other places is Illinois either. I bet they’ll play.

  8. Josh

    Any word on DL time frame for Bruno’s return? Looks like the Cubs are really getting a logjam in quality position players in the minors….in some cases deserving or simply ready players are not being moved because there in no wher to move them. That is good to hear for our system. Who loses playing time at KC…..Rademacher? Chen? Shoulders (at least outfield wise)? No way does Almora lose time, and given his potential I can’t see Golden touching butt to wood that much.

  9. Timmy

    Sometimes I think you have a pretty depressing job, Brett. Then I realize that you’re making a living off of blogging about sports. Not bad.

    1. Timmy

      The object of study is pretty depressing these days, but the job is not.

  10. Rich H

    With Golden going to KC does that mean it is time for Rademacher and Shoulders to go to Daytona and Soler to Tennessee?

    1. Cedlandrum

      Rademacher went on the DL. So that gives a bit of time, but yes there will have to be some movement. Maybe they buy themselves a little time before making the moves.

  11. cjdubbya

    And now Fujikawa’s getting Tommy John. Le sigh.

  12. Die hard

    Insanity wkout ok as no weights

  13. Die hard

    Is the surgeon alive?

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