Nico Hoerner Running the Bases Seems Like a Good Sign
The Cubs are 2-4 without Nico Hoerner this year, so clearly they need him back from his hamstring strain ASAP.
OK, so there are a couple jokes in there: (1) they need him back ASAP anyway, because he’s great and he makes the team better; and (2) the Cubs having lost four of their games against the Cardinals and Twins mostly had nothing to do with anything Hoerner could have prevented.
For now, the Cubs are fortunate they have Christopher Morel available to play second base and hit the ball so hard that it flattens into a disc. But the team is unquestionably at its best when Hoerner is at second base and leading off, with Morel available to play many other places. So consider me hopeful that Hoerner’s stay on the Injured List is of the minimum variety.
To that end, a good sign from Houston today:
You’ll recall that the Cubs and Hoerner were initially hopeful that he wouldn’t need an IL stint at all, and with him already running the bases, I would think there’s a good chance we see him back soon. Hoerner is eligible to return on Friday for the series opener against the Phillies, so it’s possible that this series in Houston will be the last three games he misses with this particular injury.
On the year, Hoerner is hitting .303/.348/.395/106 wRC+ with 12 steals and a 10.4% strikeout rate. He’s been exactly what the Cubs have wanted in a leadoff man, all while transitioning back to second base seamlessly.