A few quick injury updates for the Chicago Cubs before this afternoon’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Per reports, Nico Hoerner (ankle) is going to run the bases today, in what figures to be a major evaluative step in his recovery. If he looks good and comes out of that well, it’s possible we could see him in some kind of action (minor league rehab stint? return to the big league team?) sometime next week.
Hoerner is eligible to come off of the Injured List on Monday, but we haven’t yet been given any indication that he’ll be ready for that, and ankle sprains usually take a little more time than that to recover. My shoot-from-the-hip, be-a-little-optimistic hope is that he could play a rehab game or two by late next week (if necessary), and then return to the big league team next weekend.
Lefty Sean Newcomb, also dealing with an ankle sprain, has already thrown a 40-pitch bullpen, so he must be feeling pretty good overall. He’d be eligible to come off of the 15-day IL early next week, but I would think for health reasons, arm reasons, and roster crunch reasons (he has no minor league options remaining, and the Cubs have a very full bullpen at the moment (a bullpen that will have to shrink by one at the end of the month)), he’ll go on a rehab stint eventually. That might actually be a convenient way for the Cubs to continue working with him on any pitch tweaks – remember, he’s a reclamation option for them, having previously shown a whole lot of talent, and only just now experiencing the second organization of his career.
Clint Frazier has been playing at Iowa this past week, hitting the ball really hard (without luck) according to those who are watching the games. He has said he wanted to return quickly from the appendicitis and it looks like he could be ready quickly.
Frazier, 27, is also a reclamation type for the Cubs, though obviously on the positional side, and with a minor league option remaining. I tend to think the Cubs would prefer not to option Frazier, who has had so much big league success in the past, and for whom the entire point of this year’s experiment is to know if he could be a starter for the Cubs next year. But if the Cubs decide they don’t want to move anyone else out just yet, it’s conceivable that Frazier could be optioned to Iowa – where he is already – at some point. Wouldn’t bet on it. But it’s on the table.
David Bote (shoulder surgery) is also playing at Iowa right now, and he’ll be there until he’s eligible to come off the 60-day IL in early June. Like Frazier, Bote has minor league options remaining, though, like Frazier, I expect the Cubs would prefer not to go that route, all else equal. We kinda just have to see the state of the roster by that second week of June, because so much could change between now and then. In the meantime, you just want to see Bote healthy and raking at Iowa.