When you consider the injury stories from around baseball, the Chicago Cubs – KNOCK ON THE BIGGEST PIECE OF WOOD YOU CAN FIND – have had it pretty easy this Spring.
- Mike Olt’s shoulder fatigue really doesn’t sound like much of a deal, at least not beyond the shoulder soreness that has prevented him from playing third base all Spring long. And it’s possible that he simply got yesterday off so that he could rest up in advance of a debut at third base in tonight’s game against the Rangers. As Olt put it to Cubs.com: “I’m just trying to get ready to play third. I think I’ve been putting a little toll on [my shoulder]. My main goal is to get out and play third. It’s definitely not a setback or anything like that. We just felt like,’Hey, if we want to get out there soon, we have to take it easy.'” Narratives are a funny thing: if Olt had never been in yesterday’s lineup (and then subsequently removed), we probably would have thought nothing about it. And then if he played tonight at third base, we would have been all, “see! things are coming along just fine, progressing normally, and now he’ll play some third!” So, here’s hoping Olt plays third base tonight, and this shoulder fatigue thing becomes the nothing it always probably was. The shoulder soreness, of course, remains something to watch, if you can appreciate that distinction.
- Starlin Castro tells Cubs.com his hamstring is up to 80%, and he could run the bases today for the first time since he went down over two weeks ago. He’s hitting and fielding, and doing all that stuff already. It’s the running at full speed that’s the real final hurdle before he can get back into game action. Once he’s ready for that, the Cubs might send him off to play some minor league Spring Training games in which he can get extra at bats. All in all, if he’s ready for game action by the end of this week, I will have no concerns whatsoever about his readiness for Opening Day (not just in terms of health, but baseball preparedness).
- Jake Arrieta’s shoulder must be feeling pretty good. He tells the Tribune that, as part of his conditioning, he rowed 5,000 meters on a machine on Monday. Arrieta told Jesse Rogers he felt good after this weekend’s live BP session, by the way. All is proceeding well.
- James McDonald’s shoulder isn’t doing as well, but we don’t yet know the extent of the issue. Rick Renteria tells Cubs.com that the focus right now is on making sure McDonald is OK, and he’s not really saying what will happen to McDonald vis a vis the fifth starter job. The Cubs have options outside of McDonald obviously, and it’s hard to see a guy who had serious shoulder problems in 2013 being rushed back after experiencing shoulder discomfort in Spring Training. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but, even if it’s not, McDonald could be in for a DL stint to start the year.