Mike Olt missed an opportunity to claim a long or even medium term job at third base for the Cubs earlier this year when an inside fastball rode in and broke a bone in his arm, close to his wrist. Maybe Olt would have run with it this time, and maybe Kris Bryant would have been accommodated elsewhere. We’ll never know.
As it stands, Bryant is entrenched at third base, and, even if the Cubs did consider moving him to the outfield at this point, it would probably be another infielder (Javier Baez?) getting a regular shot after the positions were shuffled. But that doesn’t mean Olt can’t return to the Cubs as a productive member of the roster, either as a utility man or a starter if some other unfortunate things should occur.
How is his recovery coming?
Well, it’s been almost six weeks since the Cubs determined the full extent of his injury and put Olt in a cast. The good news, according to the Sun-Times, is that the cast is off, and Olt is taking batting practice.
Currently on the 60-day DL, Olt is not eligible to return until June 14, so you won’t want to look for him any time soon. That said, assuming he’s healed well and doesn’t experience any setbacks, maybe he’ll be able to return at some point soon thereafter. His role will be determined at that time, but, right now, even as a bench bat, the Cubs could use him.
I mentioned Neil Ramirez a couple times between Friday and now, but, what with the holiday weekend and my own travel, I don’t want anything to get lost in the shuffle.
Although he was reportedly due to throw for Cubs pitching coach this weekend, I’ve not yet heard any kind of update on if/how that went. Joe Maddon was asked about Ramirez, though, and he indicated that he’s not been given a sense that Ramirez will be back soon (CSN).
Ramirez has been out since early April with shoulder inflammation. Because he’s had shoulder issues before, it was always likely that the comeback would be slow and steady. Ramirez has been throwing in Arizona, but he has yet to make an appearance in an Extended Spring Training game (which tends to be a precursor to a minor league rehab assignment this time of year).
The bullpen has been improved of late with the return of Justin Grimm and the shuffling of some of the middle relievers. But there’s no doubt that the Cubs could still use another quality, high-leverage arm. That could be Ramirez, though it’s not likely to be until well into June at the earliest. And, even after he returns, it remains to be seen whether Ramirez will have the kind of instant impact he had last year.
There’s nothing new to report at this time, by the way, on Jacob Turner (elbow then shoulder), whose injuries were also particularly ill-timed for the bullpen, seeing as he could have been a contributor there.
There’s also nothing new to report on Tommy La Stella, who was so close to returning to the big leagues before being derailed by an oblique injury. La Stella is not expected back until late June at the earliest.