Oh, it’s never good when you have enough injury bits to discuss/update that you have to break off a separate post to get into them. The Cubs are rather banged up, and it got (much?) worse yesterday.
Let’s start with the new stuff. Sprinting to catch a pop fly in the first, Jake Marisnick slowed up and immediately went down. He was taken out of the game, and you knew it was going to be a legit injury – turned out to be a hamstring, and the Cubs were calling it a “strain” even before they got any tests done. Those tests will happen today (Cubs.com), and the best you can hope for is a mild strain, which would have him out maybe three weeks. I know, that’s a crummy best-case-scenario, but hamstring strains are a bitch like that. They seem to happen so easily for some guys, and they recur – and/or limit you – very easily if they’re not fully healed. So, historically, even the mildest of strains tend to keep guys out for multiple weeks, often up to a month. And if it’s Grade 2 or worse? We might start talking about the All-Star break.
So, that is to say, when it comes to Marisnick, who’d been such a great player off the bench for the Cubs and had worked himself into a near everyday role in the absence of Ian Happ, you should brace yourself now for an injured list stint, probably kicking off just before tomorrow night’s game.
Since I mentioned Happ, I’ll update him next: no update. He’s recovering from the ribs injury in that collision with Nico Hoerner, and is not eligible to return for another five days. I expect later this week we’ll find out whether an immediate return is the expectation, or if there’s going to be a rehab assignment (which might not be the worst idea in the world for stabilizing his success – then again, with the injuries in the outfield mounting, the Cubs might not be able to afford it).
Speaking of those injuries mounting, you also had Jason Heyward leaving yesterday’s game late with a “hand thing” that “doctors are checking out.” That’s according to David Ross, who didn’t say much else. Given Heyward’s deep, deep struggles this year, you can’t help but wonder, is this a brand new issue, or something nagging that he’s been playing through and has gotten worse? Not that the Cubs would EVER let that happen for a position player …
If Heyward has to miss short-term time, it’s possible the Cubs will not IL him right away, given that they’re probably going to supplement with an outfielder for Marisnick, and also the schedule goes off-day, game, game, off-day.
If the Cubs need another outfielder – or two – they’re going to have to pull someone from Iowa who isn’t already on the 40-man roster, since the literal only other two positional guys on the 40-man right now are catching prospect Miguel Amaya and multi-positional prospect Christopher Morel (there’s no way the Cubs would call him up, right? His experience above Low-A consists only of some time at the alt site last year, and five games at Double-A this year). I would think the Cubs would bring up old friend Cameron Maybin or maybe dude-who-just-keeps-raking, Rafael Ortega. Ian Miller, speed guy, is also there at Iowa in the outfield mix. Patrick Wisdom can play the corner outfield spots if absolutely necessary, and ditto Trent Giambrone. There are plenty of options there as fill-in guys, but the 40-man spot will be necessary (Rowan Wick, Jonathan Holder, and Austin Romine have already been moved to the 60-day IL, so no easy help there).
Meanwhile, getting Nico Hoerner back would help on the positional side – he can play a little outfield, too – but he can’t return until Friday at the earliest for the start of the Tigers series. Hoerner, out with a left forearm strain, has been very active, according to David Ross, but no real update yet on whether he’ll be back on Friday. I’ve seen him in videos doing pre-game work in the field, and my guess is that the question is whether his arm will be in position to swing the bat at full authority by Friday. Man, you don’t want anything messing up the way he was looking before the injury – the approach, the line drives, the selective aggression, etc., it all looked so good regardless of the results.
Is that everyone to update on the positional side? OK, if so, then you’ve got Jake Arrieta (thumb cut), who can return on Friday as well. For now, it sounds like that’s the plan, as his bullpen session this weekend went well (NBC). The Cubs were fortunate with all the off-days during this stretch that it minimized the pain of the injuries, and has also allowed them to coordinate the rotation a bit.
In the bullpen, the Cubs are still without Dan Winkler (triceps), who played catch this weekend. Trevor Megill went down with a forearm strain over 10 days ago, so the lack of an update there yet is a little concerning. And “forearm” strains already concern you as they relate to pitcher injuries. Shelby Miller (back) is working a rehab assignment at Iowa right now, where he threw the first three innings of that no-hitter.
No updates on the aforementioned Wick and Holder, by the way. They aren’t eligible to return from the 60-day IL until the end of this month at the absolute earliest.