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Chicago Cubs Injury Updates: Lester, Contreras, Russell, Bryant

Chicago Cubs News

The Cubs have a quattro of important starters down right now, but thanks to their depth, winning ways, and the hopef-for lengths of the absences, it hasn’t felt like this team is injury-ravaged right now.


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Jon Lester felt good throwing this week, but his bigger test will be throwing off the mound tomorrow (Sun-Times). Lester was bounced early from his last start after getting blown up by the Reds, and ultimately being put on the DL with lat tightness and shoulder fatigue. After he throws tomorrow, the Cubs will figure out a timeline for his return. Either way, the expectation is that he’ll miss at least one more start (Tribune).

The hope has always been that he was essentially just kind of tired and sore (not exactly “injured”), and that a couple weeks of rest would get him ready for the stretch run and the postseason. The Cubs need him to be at his best in late September/October, not necessarily right at this moment. And that’s especially true if Mike Montgomery can pitch like he did last night.

Things continue to look good for Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (hamstring strain):

Joe Maddon is quick to pump the brakes on any dreams of a crazy fast Contreras return, though, telling the Tribune, “Biology is biology, and I don’t want him to come back too quickly and reinjure it. We’ll take this one step at a time.”


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The Cubs are unquestionably better with Contreras, and may very well need him to lock down the division. But having seen their division lead grow to its largest size this year, getting great performances so far from Alex Avila, and nabbing Rene Rivera off of waivers for free, the Cubs do have the luxury of being at least as patient as necessary with Contreras’s return.

The injury, which Contreras suffered a little over two weeks ago, was originally estimated as a four to six week injury, and we’ll leave it there for now.

We heard yesterday that Addison Russell (foot strain, plantar fasciitis) believes he can be back in about 10 days, though Joe Maddon estimates that a three to four-day minor league rehab assignment will be necessary before Russell is back up with the big league team (Tribune).


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If all continues to progress well on Russell’s foot, I still think we’re most likely to see him back with the big league team right around when the calendar flips to September, and the roster expands to include the full 40-man. If that’s to be the case, and if Russell needs three or four days in the minors, hopefully we hear about him heading out for a rehab assignment within the next week.

In the meantime, Javy Baez will continue to cover the Cubs at shortstop, as he has so well.

Kris Bryant’s hand was already feeling better yesterday after getting hit by a pitch on Tuesday (Sun-Times). There is no explicit word yet that he will return to the lineup tonight, but there also hasn’t been any indication that he’ll definitely sit again.

We’ll see when the lineup comes out this afternoon for the series finale against the Reds. For what it’s worth, the Cubs are facing righty Sal Romano, who has been absolutely crushed by fellow righties this year (small sample).


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.