On June 10, Anthony Rizzo was scratched from his start in Atlanta, due tightness/soreness in his lower back, but he made it back onto the field the very next day.
On Wednesday, in the series finale with the Cardinals, Rizzo left the game under similar circumstances.
Out of what appeared to be an abundance of caution, Rizzo sat out of yesterday’s series opener with the Marlins, hoping to make an equally speedy recovery as the first time this happened earlier in the month. However, this injury is apparently “totally different,’ which means that his time spent recovering off the field may be longer, as well.
“This is totally different than it was before,” Rizzo to reporters, per Cubs.com. “We’re just being smart and being cautious about it.” Reports earlier indicated that Rizzo would be day-to-day, but I’ll admit that even we thought that was more of a manner of speaking and that Rizzo would be back in the lineup today. As it turns out, it might be a bit longer than that.
Rizzo drove home the fact that, although he’s had back tightness before, this was an entirely different feeling. So I’d tentatively expect Rizzo to sit out today, as well, as he continues to recover. Additionally, I’d look for the big first baseman to get a few more days off down the road. Manager Joe Maddon doesn’t believe the injury is anything more than run-of-the-mill tightness, but agrees that an open dialogue and progressive/proactive rest schedule will be beneficial for Rizzo.
[Brett: You may vaguely recall that Rizzo missed three weeks in late 2014 with a back issue that, initially, was a day-to-day situation. That’s not to unreasonably panic you now, but more of a “full disclosure”-type thing. Until and unless there is word on an actual injury (as opposed to precaution) here, there’s no need to jump to any conclusions.]
Despite the tightness, Rizzo is slashing .277/.402/.558 on the season with a walk rate (13.9%) greater than his strikeout rate (13.2%). His .403 wOBA is good for seventh in baseball and his 17 home runs are tied for 14th. Given the current four game losing streak, his fantastic production, and the concurrent injuries to Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler, Kyle Schwarber and Tommy La Stella, I think we all are hoping for a speedy return to the lineup.