I know, I know. You read that headline, and you immediately think about the relative parade of “totally not serious, guys!” injuries the Cubs have had over the last few years that proved to yield extended absences. This year, alone, we’ve seen Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, and Kris Bryant miss significant time after injuries that were initially thought to be a day or two kind of things.
So, I understand your reticence to accept what Joe Maddon said about Javy Baez’s groin injury, but I’m here to share that information nonetheless (Cubs.com): “When I went out there, he didn’t say specifically where, he just said it was tight. There was no sense to leave him in the game right there. … I don’t think [the injury] is anything awful.”
Some points and reactions:
- I think partly, we do this to ourselves by misunderstanding what is meant by “not awful.” Fans – hopeful by nature – hear “not awful” and they think, “OK, cool, he’s not even going to miss time!” At a minimum, we presume it means no disabled list stint. Perhaps, when Maddon says things like that, he’s actually thinking way in the other direction – like when Hyun-Jin Ryu’s recent groin injury involved the dang muscle ripping clear from the bone. In that sense, getting an update that an injury is not awful really doesn’t tell you a whole lot about how long a guy is gonna be out.
- Players don’t go to their knees and call the trainer over in the middle of an inning for nothing. Baez was clearly feeling something not good, and feeling something not good in any muscular region (especially after his crazy stretch at second base) is unnerving, even if it isn’t “awful.”
- That said, the game situation was such that Maddon wasn’t going to leave Baez in the game no matter what at that point, so Baez being pulled was not necessarily a sign that the injury was surprisingly bad.
- The reality is that Maddon – and even Baez, himself – may not have known a lot in that moment about the severity of Baez’s injury, because sometimes you just can’t tell how bad it’s going to feel until the next day. To that end, I anticipate that we’ll get something of an update today, but I also wouldn’t take Baez sitting as a grand sign that he’s broken. It would probably be prudent to give him a day regardless at this point.
- Tonight’s Marlins starter, Jose Urena, gets crushed by lefties, so, again, it’s probably a good time to just let Ben Zobrist or Tommy La Stella play some second base.
UPDATE: This is a decent sign:
Joe Maddon "thinks" Javier Baez is "fine" after leaving the game with groin tightness last night, but he's currently unsure whether he'll be in the lineup tonight.
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) May 8, 2018
Joe Maddon says he has two lineups set for today, dependent on Baez's health and other factors.
— Bernstein & McKnight (@Bernstein_McK) May 8, 2018
That doesn’t mean it’s not a legit injury that will ultimately prove to cost him multiple days, but at least for now, Maddon believes it’s possible Baez could play as soon as tonight. Even still, I’d be fine with him sitting, given the injury and the match-up.