Although he was so close to returning to the big leagues after recovering from his side/rib cage injury, Tommy La Stella won’t be up with the Chicago Cubs any time soon.
La Stella, who has appeared in just two games since the Cubs acquired him in the offseason for Arodys Vizcaino and IFA slots, injured his oblique this weekend during a rehab stint at AA Tennessee. According to Cubs.com, La Stella will be out at least another month. Whatever his initial injury, this was the fear all along: core type injuries can linger and re-aggravate with relative ease, and they take so long to get completely over. When Emilio Bonifacio injured his oblique last year, he was out about 40 days. Given that this is, essentially, a re-injury for La Stella, if he’s back that quickly, you’d have to be thrilled. In other words, if La Stella is back and ready to go by July 1, that’s a win. Which sucks.
Never has it been more clear than in the last couple weeks that the Cubs really could have used a high-contact lefty bench bat like La Stella’s (Mike Baxter got the call yesterday for the Cubs, and he’ll do his best to be that guy).
Indeed, while the Cubs have been healthy in the starting lineup and in the rotation, they’ve had terrible luck on the bench and in the bullpen: La Stella, Mike Olt, Chris Denorfia, Neil Ramirez, Justin Grimm, Blake Parker, Jacob Turner. That’s rough, and it has definitely manifested itself in the margins for the Cubs.
Every team deals with injuries, though. The Cubs will have to continue finding ways to make due, while also crossing their fingers that none of the most important regulars go down (especially with many of the top options behind them injured).
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