The two biggest story lines in last night’s game, obviously, were Kris Bryant’s historic showing and Jake Arrieta’s struggles on the mound. We will be getting to both of those things in short order – and it’s a nice editorial privilege to get to tell Michael, “Yeah, I’m gonna take Bryant, you can handle the Arrieta stuff today” – but there are many other things to touch upon.
So these Bullets will do that touching. That came out wrong …
- Jorge Soler took batting practice before yesterday’s game (ESPN), and was testing out his injured hamstring on the field with the training staff:
— ChicagoSports (@ChicagoSports) June 27, 2016
- As you can see in that video, Soler looks to be moving very well. He looks comfortable running and moving laterally. We don’t know exactly what was being checked, but based solely on how he was moving and the fact that he took BP, it seems plausible that he could be ready for a rehab assignment soon. With his history of leg injuries, it was always going to be a more cautious process for him, and we also never got a good sense of just how injured his hamstring was back on June 6. Being that even the most mild hamstring injuries tend to cost players three to four weeks, there would be nothing unusual about Soler being out for another week or two still. At that point, even if he’s on a rehab stint, the Cubs may elect to give him until after the All-Star break to return to the big leagues. We’ll see how soon he goes out on a rehab stint, though, as that’ll give us a much clearer picture on when he could realistically be ready to return.
- Meanwhile, Tommy La Stella, who is recovering from his own hamstring injury, started his rehab assignment at Iowa yesterday with a bang: in three at bats, he singled, homered, and struck out, before being pulled partway through the game. I’m assuming that was planned, since La Stella, who was playing third base in the game, was removed after his strike out in the 5th inning. La Stella could conceivably be ready to return to the big league level later this week, at which point the Cubs will have to make a decision on whose roster spot he’ll take – the 8th reliever? Albert Almora? We shall see.
- This comes against the backdrop of Dexter Fowler’s hamstring injury, which will have him out at least until the 4th of July, when he’s eligible to return from the disabled list. That one was dubbed so minor that the Cubs almost didn’t put him on the DL at all, so hopefully he can come back right away. When that happens, once again, the Cubs will have a tough roster decision to make.
- Odd, conflicting reports out of New York about two of their top young pitchers (the Cubs play the Mets later this week, by the way):
steven matz has bone spur in elbow area, as @MarcCarig reported. scans show ligament/everything else is structurally sound
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 27, 2016
Sources: Noah Syndergaard also pitching with bone spur. Matz and Syndergaard trying to avoid in-season surgery. #Mets
— Kristie Ackert (@Ackert_NYDN) June 28, 2016
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 28, 2016
— WFAN Sports Radio (@WFAN660) June 28, 2016
- Bone spurs (and bone chips, like the one in Jon Lester’s elbow) are not that uncommon, and I suspect that there are pitchers dealing with them all the time that we don’t hear about. Pitching can cause quite a bit of discomfort, but, if a structural issue does not present a greater long-term risk if you pitch through it, and if a guy can deal with the discomfort without losing peak performance, then he’ll pitch through it. It happens.
- Meanwhile, the Nationals lit up Syndergaard last night, and he’s theoretically next scheduled to pitch against the Cubs and Jake Arrieta on Saturday. What a matchup that would be, even given each pitcher’s recent struggles. Actually, that adds to the intrigue. Matz is scheduled to pitch against the Nationals tomorrow, which would make him the one Mets starter the Cubs would miss. Again, this is all kind of up in the air now.
- After his big night, Kris Bryant shirseys on Amazon are in limited supply! Probably!
- Lots of good stuff in this morning’s Minor League Daily if you haven’t checked it out.