Thanks to a long history of position players either playing through nagging injuries or guys sitting out and unusable instead of hitting the Injured List, you can bank on circumspection any time a Cubs position player has a minor this or that and misses multiple days. It’s like, either he’s too hurt to play through it soon, or he should already be on the IL already so the team isn’t constantly playing shorthanded. I know you’ve heard – and thought! – this before. It’s just the MO of this group dating back to the start of the Epstein/Hoyer era for whatever reason. Maybe I’m just wrong, and it’s actually worked out a lot more than we know. It never feels like it.
Anyway, the latest is Javy Báez’s hamstring issue, which was just mild tightness and he almost played through it, but then it was not great and he was sitting another day, and now, oh actually, it’s a mild strain:
Per sources: Javy Báez’s MRI on Tuesday revealed a Grade 1 left-hamstring strain. It’s considered mild and doesn’t mean he’ll end up on the 10-day IL. Team being cautious and will see how it’s progressed before Wednesday’s game vs. Atlanta. #Cubs
— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) April 28, 2021
It’s better than a significant strain, obviously, but typically, even a mild hamstring issue means a multi-week absence. So this must be EXTREMELY mild.
If Báez misses tonight’s game and isn’t put on the IL, then the Cubs have locked up at least one extra day of playing shorthanded that they didn’t have to (an injury can be backdated for the IL up to three days). If Báez goes on the IL tonight, however, he has to miss only one week from here. To me, that tradeoff hardly seems worrying about if it’s even a close call – let him rest a week and get him back at 100% – but I do know that players want to play, and they typically don’t want an IL stint on their resume if they can avoid it.
I guess we’ll see what happens tonight. Maybe he comes back and this was all fine and dandy. I’m open to the possibility, because I can never totally squash that internal optimism!
In the meantime, Nico Hoerner will take the starts at shortstop, which is fine enough, though you’d much rather Báez was back *and* the Cubs had the option of rotating Hoerner into the mix wherever.