Cubs injury updates: Nick Madrigal returns and Seiya Suzuki speaks
It’s been tough sledding for the Cubs on the injury front lately but the team received some good news ahead of Tuesday night’s contest.
Nick Madrigal was activated off the 10-day IL after missing more than 3 weeks with a lower back injury.
He was a welcome sight in the Cubs clubhouse, greeting teammates and manager David Ross with fist bumps and hugs.
The Cubs have been used to the opposite lately, with so many players departing due to injury in recent weeks. That includes Seiya Suzuki, who was placed on the IL Monday with a left ring finger sprain suffered on an awkward slide last Thursday in Cincinnati.
Suzuki has been able to take some swings in recent days but it’s painful. He has not been able to catch with his glove, so he has stayed in shape by throwing and having his interpreter, Toy Matsushita, catch the return throws.
The 27-year-old rookie doesn’t know for sure if he’ll be ready next week when he’s first eligible to come off the IL.
“It’s quite different every day in terms of the condition of my finger,” Suzuki said through Matsushita. “I want to take it day by day and obviously use my day really effectively and be out there as soon as possible.”
The injury hasn’t robbed Suzuki of his sense of humor, however.
When asked to assess Matsushita’s baseball skills, Suzuki smiled and said, “worse than a child playing baseball,” which was even funnier considering Matsushita had to translate that comment.
Suzuki was placed on the IL in between the doubleheader games Monday, and Madrigal’s return Tuesday brings the Cubs’ roster back to 26 again.
The 25-year-old second baseman only played 2 games on a rehab stint with Triple-A Iowa but felt like he’s in a good spot to return. He was not in the lineup for Tuesday night’s contest, with Andrelton Simmons playing second base and Nico Hoerner at shortstop.
Shortly before Madrigal went on his rehab assignment, he and the Cubs trainers turned a corner and his back injury finally loosened up.
Now he sets about trying to regain his rhythm.
In 23 games prior to the injury, Madrigal was hitting .203 with a .491 OPS, 3 doubles and 2 RBI. He came into 2022 as a career .317 hitter in the major leagues.
“There’s definitely been looking at some video of swings and just reflecting mentally on different approaches,” Madrigal said. “I’m not reinventing anything for me as a baseball player. I’m confident in who I am. But there’s definitely been a lot of time to reflect and watch video and I feel like I’m in a good spot. Anxious to get back out there.”
He felt like he was too stiff and rigid in the batter’s box prior to the injury and believes when he’s at his best, he is moving in rhythm — either with his hands or his legs/hips.
The Cubs are certainly hoping he can return to his pre-2022 form to provide a boost to the lineup.
“Especially when you’re not swinging it the way you want to, when you have injuries pop up no matter where it’s at, it’s just difficult to hit,” Ross said. “It’s hard to go out there and play at that level.
“He was dealing with that and didn’t feel like he could really get his A-swing off. Feels great now and hopefully he can come back and start to see the version of him that we expect and he expects, for sure.”