Cubs News

Cubs send Seiya Suzuki to IL, call up outfield prospect

1 month agoTony Andracki

The Cubs were dealt another serious injury blow this week as Seiya Suzuki is the latest player to hit the IL ahead of the team’s 3-2 win in Arizona Monday night.

The star outfielder was off to a fantastic start but a right oblique strain will force him to miss at least the next 10 days. He dealt with a left oblique strain last spring, missing most of Spring Training and the first two weeks of the regular season.

[WATCH: Seiya Suzuki details his oblique injury]

Suzuki did say this injury is not as serious as last year’s oblique strain and is encouraged by that fact. He first felt the issue running down to first base in his final at-bat in Sunday afternoon’s win.

“Right after I felt the discomfort yesterday in my last at-bat, I felt OK and I think that’s because of the adrenaline that was rushing and I didn’t really feel the exact pain that I was supposed to,” Suzuki told reporters in Arizona through interpreter Toy Matsushita before Monday’s win.. “After I spent one night, I do feel some discomfort still but it’s not as serious as last year, so that’s a bright spot.”

Suzuki ranked among the best hitters in the league through the first couple weeks of this year, slashing .305/.368/.525 (.893 OPS) with 3 homers and 13 RBI in 15 games.

He was hitting everything hard, ranking in the 97th percentile in MLB this season with a 94.7 mph average exit velocity.

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In his place, the Cubs are calling up young outfielder Alexander Canario. He was promoted in September last year, though he only got into 6 games, posting a .294 average and .941 OPS in 17 plate appearances.

Canario spent most of the spring in big-league camp but was ultimately optioned down to Triple-A Iowa to start the 2024 campaign. The 23-year-old Canario sits 12th on Lance Brozdowski’s preseason Top 30 Cubs prospect rankings.

He has been solid in the early going this season with a .269/.377/.481 slash line (.858 OPS), 5 doubles and 2 homers in 13 games for Iowa.

Canario can play all three outfield spots and his right-handed bat should be useful as the Cubs are about to take on several left-handed starters in the coming days.

The Cubs also have veteran outfielder Mike Tauchman who could potentially form a platoon with Canario in right field in Suzuki’s absence. Garrett Cooper and Miles Mastrobuoni also have some outfield experience but typically spend most of their time on the infield.

The big issue for the Cubs will be replacing Suzuki’s offense. He was holding down the No. 2 spot in the lineup and has been the team’s best run producer so far this season.

“Look when you lose players like that, you don’t replace players like that,” Craig Counsell told reporters in Arizona. “While he’s out, guys hopefully pick it up around him and collectively perform at a good level around him. But you can’t replace players that are performing at that level with one person.”

Suzuki joins ace Justin Steele, veteran starter Jameson Taillon and reliever Julian Merryweather on the IL. Slugger Patrick Wisdom is also on the IL but has been on a rehab assignment over the last week.

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