It was a success. As far as we know, Nico Hoerner did not aggravate his oblique last night while playing in his first rehab game with Iowa. So that’s a success.
Hoerner, who went 0-2 with a couple groundouts in a pre-planned short appearance, was playing shortstop, as he will whenever he returns to the Cubs this year. Like we’ve said, Hoerner knows how important it is for him to just get in as much time as possible before the season is over:
Cubs infielder Nico Hoerner didn’t want to shut things down after his latest setback in an injury filled season. In fact, he still sees a ton of value in getting back for the rest of what’s left in 2021. https://t.co/lOBk7J99My
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) September 13, 2021
Because of all the injuries and the pandemic, Hoerner has played so little professional ball since the 2018 draft (big leagues or minor leagues), and you just want to see him getting more at bats before next year. At this point, as we’ve discussed, it’s impossible to say that Hoerner is locked into this starting spot or that starting spot for 2022, but there’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic that he can contribute meaningfully.
And you would be all the more optimistic if he could come back for, say, the final two weeks of this season, play some capable defense at shortstop, and smack around some line drives. For now, Hoerner will remain at Iowa as they head out on a road trip starting tomorrow, and my guess is he’ll appear in at least two or three more I-Cubs games before the big league team seriously considers bringing him back. With rest in between outings to make sure the oblique is responding well, you’re talking about at least a week before he could plausibly be with the big league Cubs.