Although he hadn’t been performing at a particularly high level in his stint as the Cubs’ back-up, back-up, back-up, back-up catcher, you never wish to see a guy depart the team on the basis of an injury. But it seems like that’s what is going to happen for Jose Lobaton, who may have separated his shoulder on the final play of the game.
Lobaton, pinch-hitting because the Cubs were out of other options, seemingly grounded out harmlessly to first base to end the game. But Josh Hader, covering first, initially missed the bag and had to dive back, causing Lobaton to change his approach – while Hader was then in an exposed spot – to avoid Hader. Lobaton successfully avoided injuring Hader, but not himself:
After the game, David Ross described the injury as “pretty serious,” and guessed it may have been a separated shoulder (NBCSC). Hopefully he can recover well, but at 36 and already an extreme depth option, that might be it for Lobaton’s career. That’s a sad way to end it.
Either way, an Injured List stint is going to mean the Cubs need a back-up catcher, so they may return to one of the previous options in Tony Wolters, or may try someone new in Taylor Gushue. Each is at Iowa right now, and although neither is on the 40-man roster, that’s just a one-for-one swap with Lobaton, so it isn’t an issue. Wolters, 29, is hitting reasonably well at Iowa, though he would not be expected to hit in the big leagues (he didn’t earlier in the year, and he’s a career 57 wRC+ guy). His glove looked decent enough to my eye earlier this year.
Gushue, 27, is also hitting reasonably well at Iowa, though he has never appeared in the big leagues. I know nothing about the glove, but I reckon it’s telling that the Cubs preferred to go with everyone else but him to this point, as he’s been with Iowa the whole time. So, then, I’d tentatively expect Wolters to be back up with the big league team today. I kinda wish it were Gushue, though, so that we could more cleanly say that the Cubs are on their back-up (Romine), back-up (Wolters), back-up (Higgins), back-up (Lobaton), back-up catcher. I have definitely never, ever, ever seen a team require five different back-up catchers in a season, let alone before the end of June.