New Cubs infielder Nick Madrigal has kinda felt like not-really-a-Cub since the July 30 trade that sent Craig Kimbrel to the White Sox for Madrigal and Codi Heuer. When a guy is (1) definitely out for the year, and (2) rehabbing in Arizona/at home, you just don’t really think about him as an actual part of the team at the moment. Fair enough, though that doesn’t impact our interest and excitement at seeing a fully-healthy Madrigal with the Cubs next year. That bat is just so freaking unique. I can’t wait to see it in action.
In the meantime, it definitely felt a little more like Madrigal was “with” the Cubs this weekend because, well, he was literally with the Cubs this weekend. In to get checked in on, meet some folks, and generally settle in with the team, Madrigal was in Cubs gear working with the coaches before the games this weekend. It was great to see.
New #Cubs second baseman Nick Madrigal met with the media for the first time on the Northside today.
— Scott Changnon (@ScottyChags) September 11, 2021
Nick Madrigal discussed his trade to the Cubs today⬇️ pic.twitter.com/9M2vBXRF58
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 11, 2021
Ah, but the big question I had: how’s the rehab coming? I knew we wouldn’t see him out there taking grounders or batting practice yet after his mid-June surgery to repair his torn right hamstring, but unlike the more typical strains where we can project a rough timeline as soon as there’s a diagnosis, this was a surgery. I knew that would make things much murkier, so I did hope we’d get a timeline update. And we did!
“I feel like I’m over the hump where I’m not feeling any pain or soreness,” Madrigal said this weekend, per The Athletic. “I just saw the doctor (Friday) and he’s cleared me to start jogging and running progressions. I’m excited to get to this point. The last couple weeks have been a little bit slow. I’m feeling good, but I’m not able to start running or doing any baseball activities yet.
“The ultimate goal is to be as strong and ready as possible in spring training. We’re taking it kind of one day at a time, but they mentioned November is when I’ll start feeling like a normal person.”
Excellent. So we have a sense of when real baseball activities could tick back up, perhaps in a couple months. That’s a great timeline if it holds, because for a lot of guys who don’t make the postseason, they take October off, and then start the physical ramp-up process again in November. It’s all very idiosyncratic, obviously, but if Madrigal can be pretty normal by January, that’s plenty of time for him to get in good baseball shape for Spring Training.
From there, we see how well the recovery went. Madrigal has age on his side – he doesn’t turn 25 until March – but this was obviously a significant injury for a guy that needs as much speed and quickness as he can get out there.