Luis Valbuena, who has seen his season line drop like a rock in recent weeks to just .225/.330/.372, did not play today. The Cubs were facing a lefty, so that could have been all it was. But word came down after the game that Valbuena has a strained oblique, and will head to the disabled list. A corresponding move will come tomorrow.
Since Valbuena probably didn’t hurt himself on the bench today, I suspect the injury was known before the game, and that’s why the Cubs added infielder Donnie Murphy earlier today, in place of DFA’d outfielder Julio Borbon.
If so, we might see the corresponding move include a returning outfielder – Brian Bogusevic (DL) or Dave Sappelt (Iowa), perhaps. I really doubt we’ll see third base prospect Mike Olt come up to play regularly right now, given how much he is still struggling at AAA (.249 OPS (yes, OPS), 34.1% K rate since joining the Iowa Cubs). He’s either still dealing with the tear duct issue, some post-concussion issues, or he’s got some mechanical adjustments to make. Whatever the case, exposing him in the big leagues right now doesn’t sound like a great idea.
Logan Watkins is another possibility, given that he’s already on the 40-man, and it might be time to give him a little taste of the big leagues (especially since the Cubs will have to decide whether to continue carrying him on the 40-man in the offseason). Watkins, who turns 24 later this month, is hitting .243/.333/.379 this year at AAA Iowa.
As for Valbuena, we’ll wait to hear how serious his injury is. Oblique strains can run the gamut from mild and easily overcome, to quite serious and long-lasting (see Steve Clevenger).