The Cubs lost last night, but, by and large they’ve been winning plenty since the start of August. That’s not only a great thing in its own right, pushing the Cubs from a significant NL Central deficit to a significant lead, but it’s also a really impressive thing when you consider they’ve done it without their starting shortstop and starting catcher.
Addison Russell, out since the start of August with a plantar fasciitis issue in his foot, was set to return in the first week of September before an injury aggravation set him back. He’s now on a multi-week timetable that could have him back for the final week of the regular season, but even if that happens, it’s not clear how exactly he’ll be used.
For now, Russell is jogging pain-free, which would seem to be an excellent sign (Cubs.com). But that’s not going to accelerate the timeline for his possible return. Right now, the hope remains that final week of the regular season, which would put him in a position to be totally good to go when the postseason begins. Javy Baez has obviously been an excellent shortstop in Russell’s absence, but having them both in the fold makes the Cubs (especially the defense) so much better.
Meanwhile, Willson Contreras wrapped up his rehab stint with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans yesterday, going 1 for 2 with a rocket single and two walks. Contreras strained his hamstring back on August 9, and is now headed back to Chicago today for evaluation and a determination on next steps (Cubs.com). The hope is that he’s ready to go, and the bat can inject some much-needed life into the lineup.
If Contreras is able to return this weekend, he’ll have missed only a month of action – which is pretty incredible for a moderate hamstring strain. In fact, that might be one of the quickest hamstring recoveries I can recall in recent memory.
Fingers crossed that Contreras is feeling great today.