Injury updates: Cubs playing it safe with Nico Hoerner, Willson Contreras as Adbert Alzolay nears return
For the Cubs, Nico Hoerner’s exit Sunday night against the Giants wasn’t a big concern.
“I think pretty optimistic about how long he’ll be out; I don’t think it’ll be very long,” David Ross told reporters in New York. “He’s moving around today. A little bit sore, but nothing crazy. He’ll take some swings in the cage and see how it feels.”
Regardless, though, the Cubs aren’t in a rush to get him back onto the field. As much as Hoerner would want to come back, the team wants to make sure they do what’s best for him long-term.
“I think the main thing is let’s not create any serious damage,” Ross said.
That’s especially true given the success he’s had this year. Hoerner has posted a .291/.338/.421 slash line with a career-high 9 home runs and 49 RBI this season. He has an OPS+ of 111, 11 points above league average and a 4.5 WAR. And Hoerner has been elite defensively, posting a 13 Outs Above Average, per Baseball Savant, which is second among big-league shortstops.
“His season’s been a success, I would believe,” Ross said. “He’s played great defense, Gold-Glove caliber D, I think. Been a really consistent bat … The game is well rounded and continues to get better in a lot of areas. I would say he’s had a very successful major league season.”
The Cubs are taking a patient approach with Willson Contreras, too.
Contreras is eligible to come off the IL on Tuesday, but they’re not rushing to get him back on the field prematurely.
“We’re probably looking more after the off day at some point,” Ross said. “He’s working day to day, every day he’s kinda getting a little bit better. It’s just a little bit slower than we thought.”
Adbert Alzolay pitched 2.2 innings Sunday for the Iowa Cubs in Jacksonville, Fla. He allowed 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. It’s his fourth rehab appearance with Iowa as ge recovers from a strained lat muscle.
“We’ll see how he recovers today and he’ll probably be knocking on the door here soon,” Ross said. “We’ll let him rest up and I’m sure we’ll look and see how the pitching stacks up going into this off day, we have an off day after this series and then see where he’s at, what his availability is.
“I hadn’t talked to the pitching guys or our front office about the next steps for him other than him getting through this start and continuing to work his way back.
Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele were throwing bullpen sessions Monday in New York as they work back from injuries. Thompson is eligible to be reinstated from the injured list at any point and Steele is eligible to return on Saturday.