Even with Kris Bryant (bicep) returning to the lineup tonight, the Chicago Cubs are pretty banged up right now: Joc Pederson (wrist) and Austin Romine (wrist) are both on the injured list and Javy Baez has been sitting out with mild hamstring strain. There are updates for each of those players, and most of it is good news. Let’s start with the bad stuff, first.
Austin Romine’s left wrist sprain is considered “significant” according to David Ross, and he’ll apparently be out for a while (at least a few weeks). If you recall Romine also missed most of Spring Training and the start of the season, which is why the Cubs added Tony Wolters in the first place. Clearly, this union hasn’t exactly gone as the Cubs would’ve envisioned. And for what it’s worth, Wolters is a fine back-up back-up, but he’s not a guy you want taking too many starts behind the plate because of his lack of potential *at* the plate (on an offense that is already struggling mightily).
Wow, so that's not just a minor ding for the Cubs' would-be back-up catcher. Tony Wolters will get a longer stint. Romine can hit much more, but Wolters is theoretically as good behind the plate. https://t.co/nZGwpOSF2A
— Bleacher Nation Cubs (@BleacherNation) April 28, 2021
There’s no official timeline for his return and that’s that.
But the news gets better from there. For example, Joc Pederson (also out with a wrist injury) has taken batting practice in South Bend. The Cubs manager is still “awaiting feedback” on how that BP went, which is a little odd, but I’m going to take the optimistic path here and just be happy to see him back on the field. He may not be nearing a return and he may have been struggling badly before he left, but Pederson has always pretty much always an above-average hitter overall (with strengths against righties and fastballs). And the Cubs could use a little bit of that in the lineup ASAP.
And finally, the best news: Javy Baez is available off the bench tonight and could be back in the starting lineup tomorrow.
Báez will take grounders today and was moving well during pregame tests, Ross says. Cubs will see how Báez feels tomorrow and could be in the lineup for the series finale in Atlanta.
Ross added that all things are trending well for Báez, who is available off the bench tonight.
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) April 28, 2021
Believe it or not, Baez has actually been an above average hitter overall this season (109 wRC+) and when he’s back in the lineup, the defense improves at shortstop *and* second base, by moving Nico Hoerner across the field. That also allows David Ross to play the matchups with Eric Sogard, David Bote, and Matt Duffy at third while Joc Pederson is out and Bryant has to cover an outfield spot. It all spirals off Baez, so it’s good to see him working his way back.
— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) April 28, 2021