José Quintana, Anthony Rizzo back on the field, progressing from injuries
José Quintana’s grin said it all as he was back throwing at Wrigley Field on Thursday.
But manager David Ross was quick to slow down any immediate return for the lefty.
“We’re gonna get him healthy,” Ross said. “I think that’s plan number one. Played catch today and all smiles from him, which was nice.”
Quintana has missed all of summer camp with a thumb laceration on his throwing hand that required surgery and stitches, which were removed on Wednesday.
Quintana played catch from a flat ground at 60 feet, with Ross saying his thumb “felt fine.”
When Quintana does come back, he could be a spark for the Cubs pitching staff. But it’s still too early to table a return for him. Ross is relying on the medical team to monitor the situation and isn’t worrying about when that might be.
“One thing I know about my experiences in baseball is there’s a lot of twists and turns that can come from major medical procedures,” Ross said. “It’s a big wait and see for me. Obviously, if he’s moving in the right direction, that’s great news for us. He can definitely help us.”
Anthony Rizzo, meanwhile, took live batting practice against Duane Underwood Jr. and Dan Winkler during Thursday’s workout, but didn’t swing against the two, instead just tracking pitches. Rizzo has been pestered by a back injury that’s caused him to miss a portion of summer camp.
“He’s losing valuable preparation time. Tracking is great, but obviously his teammates have had a lot more at bats,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “That said, we’ve dealt with this before and certainly our hope at this point is that he can be in there. I think it’s unclear at this point and you can’t rush it.”
For both Rizzo and Quintana, there’s no rush to hurry them back, even if games are heightened in a shortened season.
“One of the challenges that we have, and we’ve talked about this, it is a 60-game season and every game is worth 2.7 times more than usual, but you also can’t act as if it’s a sprint and rush people back from injuries or push guys too hard,” Hoyer said. “You have to realize you’re asking guys to, from a shortened spring training, to 17, 18 games in a row to start the season. We’re gonna have to use the entire roster.”
That’s why Ross gave a majority of the Cubs some rest and had no scrimmage game on Thursday.
“We’re gonna have to give guys days off,” Hoyer said. “We can’t feel rushed. I think that would be a mistake.
“You have to give guys breaks and realize that getting guys worn down both mentally and physically is just gonna lead to injuries. I thought that was great and I think we have to keep that same attitude during the season, even though it is a shorter season.”
The Cubs signed Venezulan catcher José Lobatón with an invitation to summer camp. He has a career slash line of .215/.293/.319. If the Cubs break camp with three catchers – Willson Contreras, Víctor Caratini and Josh Phegley, they will need to carry a catcher on their 3-man taxi-squad that travels with the team.
Lobatón will report to South Bend with righties Tyson Miller and Cory Abbott who were also added to the Cubs 60-man pool.
The Cubs roster sits at 57 players.