Cubs injury notes: Two relievers shut down for rest of year; former top prospect undergoes surgery
The Cubs’ bullpen depth took a big hit — as did one of their top prospects.
Relievers Codi Heuer and Brandon Hughes saw their seasons come to an end, per reporters in London. Heuer (left elbow fracture) was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and Hughes was on the 15-day IL with left knee inflammation and will undergo surgery to address the issue.
Brennen Davis, the Cubs’ 10th-ranked prospect, per Marquee Sports Network’s Lance Brozdowski, will be out for at least six weeks after undergoing core muscle surgery, also according to the reporters in London. A vascular malformation in his back cost him to miss all but 53 games last season and in 45 games this year he was hitting just .198/.316/.299 with 3 home runs with Triple-A Iowa. Additionally, Matt Mervis has been out of the Iowa Cubs’ lineup since Friday. He came out of the game on Thursday with a bruised right thumb and has yet to appear in a game.
Hughes started the year on the 15-day IL with inflammation in the left knee and landed on the IL again in late April. This latest stint was his third time on the IL — he’s appeared in 17 games this year, pitching to a 7.24 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in that time.
The lefty was a big part of the Cubs’ bullpen last season, and the team was hopeful that’d be the case again this year. Without him, the Cubs have gone most of the season without a lefty in their bullpen. Anthony Kay was added to the roster recently and has been solid so far, pitching to a 2.70 ERA in his first 4 appearances. The Cubs have two more intriguing lefty arms in Triple-A. Bailey Horn, who was acquired for Ryan Tepera in 2021 from the White Sox, has a 3.86 ERA with Iowa this season. Riley Martin was just promoted to Triple-A after posting a 3.25 ERA with a whopping 43% strikeout rate in Double-A Tennessee.
The Cubs were hopeful that Heuer could be like a mid-season addition for the bullpen. In his rookie campaign, he pitched to a 1.52 ERA and 0.89 WHIP with the White Sox. After he was acquired in 2021 by the Cubs, he had a 3.14 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with his new team in the second half.
Davis was the Cubs’ top prospect, per Brozdowski, as recently as midseason 2022. Before his injury last year, there was some strong belief that he could debut in the big leagues last year. Now, Davis and the Cubs will hope he can recover and get into game action before the end of the year.
Mervis made his major-league debut this season, but was optioned to the minors on June 15 after hitting .167 with 3 home runs. The Cubs have used Cody Bellinger primarily at first base, with Trey Mancini as a platoon option.