Baez Still Out, Urging More DL Usage, Darvish Deception, and Other Bullets

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Baez Still Out, Urging More DL Usage, Darvish Deception, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I am six weeks out from foot surgery and had my latest appointment this morning. Although I can finally stop wrapping my foot in an ace bandage (thank God, because it was so annoying and tedious), I am still in the boot for at least another week. I can start trying to walk around the house in a shoe to see how it feels, but the boot is still my lover for at least another week. Le sigh.

  • When he came up lame last week while running out a double, Javy Baez immediately proclaimed himself 100 percent after the game, and the Cubs indicated it was just some dehydration-related cramping in his hamstring. And then he didn’t play the next two days. Then he got an MRI. Then he was supposed to return yesterday, but didn’t. Now, Joe Maddon tells that Baez *MIGHT* play this weekend. A total nothingburger has become at least a ten-day affair. Maddon dubs this an abundance of caution situation, which is totally legitimate this time of year, and I have no specific criticisms to offer right now, even though we are all wholly familiar with this it’s-totally-not-an-injury-oh-wait-actually rhythm. Hopefully Baez does return this weekend, at which point it’s still 10 days until the opener, and all should be just fine.
  • I raise this, though, because I don’t want to see it happening in the regular season as often as it seemed to happen this past season. Specifically, I don’t want to see a guy appear injured, get looked at, be deemed fine enough that he’ll be back in a day or two, the Cubs don’t use the disabled list and play short-handed … and then the guy winds up missing a week anyway.
  • The Cubs were among the least-DL-using teams in baseball last year, which was partly due to health, but also partly due to a seeming unwillingness to put guys on the disabled list unless and until they were quite certain it was going to be a lengthy absence. Given the uncertainty of injury lengths, given the value of extra rest, and given the depth available to the Cubs, this year, if the Cubs feel like an injury might be a five-day thing, or feel like it might be a no-day thing that could just sap a little productivity for a while, just use the disabled list. It’s only 10 days, which is typically about 9 games. If you futz around for a few days deciding whether the guy is really going to be out or not, then you’ve played shorthanded anyway, and now the required stay might only be another five games or so. Just use the DL.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
  • Still no word on Pedro Strop’s spring debut, by the way. He was slowed by a calf injury, and then he’s been sick ( If we don’t see him in game action by this weekend, starting the season on the DL in order to ramp up is going to become a real possibility.
  • I’ve long been a Yu Darvish fan, but with him spending the vast majority of his career in the AL West, opportunities to watch him regularly have been limited for me. So it’s possible this is not something new for him, but I certainly haven’t seen him do it before:

  • That particular pause and wiggle is most associated with Johnny Cueto, and, if it is new-ish for Darvish, now would be the time to experiment with it. Having the body control to pull that particular maneuver off without wrecking your command is a very special skill, which is why you don’t see too many pitchers doing it. Keeping consistent mechanics while intentionally becoming inconsistent? It’s like Jake Arrieta’s crossfire delivery: if you can pull it off, awesome, do it.
  • Speaking of pitchers who can do crazy things during their delivery – Carter Capps, somehow even more ridiculous:

  • I don’t know. When you really look at the eyes, they tell a different story than the smile:

Author: Brett Taylor

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