Although the promotions of Kris Bryant and Addison Russell rightly shifted the attention at second and third base, it’s still been fair to wonder just how much longer infielder Tommy La Stella would be out. Even if he’s not starting – he was never a lock to be the starter at second or third base this year – his high-contact lefty bat would sure be nice to have available off of the bench.
That’s why it stung to see him go down with a side/rib cage injury after the first series of the season. That injury, plus the subsequent Mike Olt injury (wrist), accelerated the Cubs’ plans at third and second base, so maybe there’s a silver lining. But, again, having La Stella available on the bench is a good thing, regardless of the rest of the roster.
Good news, then, on that front: after working out and rehabilitating in Arizona, La Stella finally appeared in an extended Spring Training game, according to Arizona Phil at TCR. He batted four times and played at both third and second base, so that’s all a good sign.
Hopefully, after another appearance or two, La Stella will be ready for a minor league rehabilitation stint. From there, a return to the Cubs could come as quickly as his readiness and body will allow.
La Stella, 26, has been on the disabled list since early April.
Whenever La Stella is ready to return, the Cubs will have to figure out whether he’ll simply replace Jonathan Herrera on the roster, or if they want to drop back down to only seven in the bullpen (assuming they’re still at eight by the time La Stella is ready to return).