Checking in on some of the Cubs’ injured players …
- Good news on both reliever Neil Ramirez (shoulder inflammation) and third baseman Mike Olt (broken wrist), as they’re playing in extended Spring Training games. You can see the details at TCR from the last two games in which they appeared here and here this weekend. The games came within two days of each other, so it’s nice to see these two able to play in games in that quick of succession (especially Ramirez).
- Without any further setbacks, you could potentially look for Ramirez to get out on a minor league rehab assignment after a small number of additional appearances in Arizona (a little tough to gauge, given his past shoulder issues and the possible setback he may have had last month). If you want to get crazy optimistic, you could look at Ramirez out on a rehab assignment by next week, making three appearances over the following week and a half, and then he’d be back with the Cubs in early July. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much given it was “only” shoulder inflammation back in early April, but that would still give the Cubs Ramirez – perhaps even a fresh Ramirez – for a half season, including the stretch run. I’d so take that.
- UPDATE on Ramirez, making an early-July or even pre-July return plausible:
Reliever Neil Ramirez to begin rehab assignment at AA Tennessee on Wed.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) June 15, 2015
- As for Olt, he could be on a similar trajectory, and it should mostly be about just getting back into playing speed. Perhaps another week or two of games in Arizona – short season ball is about to start, which means formal extended Spring Training will end this week – before heading out on a minor league rehab assignment? Where Olt would go from there is a bit of an open question. There’s no longer a starting spot for him on the big league team (even with his plus glove at third, I don’t think the upgrade there would be worth taking Chris Coghlan’s bat out of the lineup in favor of Olt’s (and shifting Kris Bryant to the outfield)), but if he can play the corner outfield spots, he could be a valuable bench player still. On the other hand, the Cubs might prefer to see him getting regular work at AAA Iowa for a while – maybe at some other positions to up his versatility.
- Jacob Turner (flexor strain, shoulder inflammation) had a successful second rehab start at AA Tennessee, throwing five scoreless innings, giving up two hits, one walk, and striking out three. The write-up at MiLB.com makes it sound like Turner, 24, was dominating. That’s what you’d want to see from a guy with his big league experience. For now, though, all I really care about is hearing that he’s healthy and his pitch count is growing. There could be an opening at the back of the Cubs’ rotation very soon – for a little while, anyway – and Turner might find himself in a position to get a crack at it (he’s out of minor league options, so the Cubs will have to make a decision on him at some point soon anyway).
- Jorge Soler (sprained ankle) is able to throw, and is close to being out of his walking boot, according to Carrie Muskat. That could happen as soon as today, and you’d have to think batting practice would come soon thereafter. Soler has been on the DL since June 3, so he’s eligible to come off later this week. Until he’s taking batting practice and then playing, probably, in at least a couple minor league rehab games, I wouldn’t expect him to be back with the Cubs, though. Hopefully BP comes this week, with rehab games as soon as the weekend.
- Tommy La Stella (strained oblique) is not playing in extended Spring Training games yet, so there’s not a lot to update there. He re-injured his side about a month ago, so I’d tentatively expect/hope to see him starting to get into game action within a week or two. Fingers crossed, because I still really think the Cubs could use him on the bench.
- Similarly with Javier Baez (broken finger), there’s not too much. Here’s Tommy Birch:
Pevey said that Javier Baez is not with the team. May have gone home. May have gone to Arizona. Not sure. Not here. Not unusual, either.
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) June 11, 2015
- Since he simply has to let the bone heal right now, there’s not a ton for him to be doing with the team. Given the passing of his sister earlier this year, it might be best for him to rest a bit with his family right now anyway. In any case, the time line for Baez’s return was six to eight weeks and it’s only been one. Don’t look for much on him for a while. Sadly.