Chicago Cubs Outfield Prospect Alexander Canario COULD Begin Baseball Activities Soon

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Chicago Cubs Outfield Prospect Alexander Canario COULD Begin Baseball Activities Soon

Chicago Cubs

I try not to think too often about what might have been – this offseason, this Spring Training, the early part of the season – if Alexander Canario hadn’t gotten hurt in winter ball.

I try. But I often fail.

The 22-year-old outfield prospect was right there alongside Matt Mervis in exploding from High-A to Double-A to Triple-A in 2022, improving his game at every level after an adjustment period. With a solid outfield glove and exceptional arm, Canario also came with the floor of an MLB-quality defender right away. His offensive upside is such that, like Mervis, he really could’ve been a guy to watch in camp either for Opening Day or for very early in the season. The Seiya Suzuki injury really brought it all to the fore, because, absent Canario’s own injuries, maybe it would’ve been an opening for a young guy to come up and surprise, or at least get some valuable experience to take back with him to Triple-A for further development.

Alas, the injuries did happen. A multiple-fracture situation in his ankle, and a shoulder dislocation. All on a fluke play at first base, and both requiring surgery. At the same time. What might have been became imaginary, just like that. So, again, I try not to think about that part of it too much. I have been a very big Canario fan. So it stings.

Not only did the injuries wipe away Canario’s offseason, but they also clouded his long-term and short-term future. No one could really predict at the time when Canario would be back on the field getting in baseball work, much less when he’d be playing games, MUCH less how effective he’d be when he did play games. All you could do is hope that he will come out of this no worse for the wear, other than some lost time.

Today, we have some good news, though! The first checkpoint is apparently getting very close.

Andy Martinez reports at Marquee that Canario is currently running in the pool and on an anti-gravity machine, and the recovery/rehab process is going according to plan. More than that, Canario says he’s hoping to be cleared for baseball activities as soon as next week.

THAT would be huge. Recall, the ankle injury, alone, came with a possible timeline where even mere weight-bearing activity wouldn’t happen until six months (which would’ve been the end of April). If Canario can start doing light baseball activity in mid-March, you could start to sketch out a trajectory that MIGHT have him in extended Spring Training games sometime in May? Maybe you start dreaming about a late-June return to Triple-A?

I’ll stop myself there, though, because it’s still a very long road between now and then, with multiple checkpoints along the way. If he gets back onto the field for baseball activities by next week, though, I’ll feel very good about where things stand thus far.

And, to his credit, Canario has been putting in the work. Via Marquee:

The injury could have caused a lot of mental frustrations, but for Canario, having undergone surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder in late 2020 helped him mentally for the difficulties he went through this winter.

“It was more difficult the first time, but I went through it, I accepted it and focused 100% on the work to be healthy,” Canario said.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.