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News and notes: Cubs trying to withstand a wave of injuries

3 years agoTony Andracki

The injury hits keep on coming for the Cubs.

After an off-day Monday, Javy Báez was initially listed in the starting lineup for Tuesday night’s game in Cleveland, which the Cubs dropped 3-2.

But the same back stiffness that kept him out over the weekend popped back up and he was scratched from the lineup. In his place, Ildemaro Vargas was inserted into the lineup at second base, pushing Eric Sogard from second to shortstop. Sogard homered off reigning AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber to supply the Cubs with their second run of the evening in the 5th inning.

The Cubs don’t believe it will ultimately require a stint on the injured list but with another off-day coming on Thursday, they also want to be cautious with their star shortstop.

As if the Cubs weren’t dealing with enough on the health front, Kris Bryant left Tuesday’s game in the 6th inning after feeling under the weather.

“Was having trouble breathing out there and was dealing with some sinus stuff for a couple innings and just wasn’t getting better,” Ross said. “We got a little bug going around the clubhouse for a little while now. Hopefully nothing major.”

The Cubs don’t believe Bryant’s symptoms are related to COVID at all.

The star infielder/outfielder extended his MLB lead in extra base hits (23) Tuesday with a 3rd-inning double off Bieber.

This has been a difficult stretch of injuries for the Cubs, but this is also why Jed Hoyer’s front office went out and added a bunch of veterans to the roster this offseason for depth.

“You understand these things are going to take place,” Ross said. “That’s why it takes a lot more than just the 26 on the roster. It takes such an organizational pull to do the things you want to do to have success ‘cause you understand there’s going to be moments throughout a six-month season that guys are going to come up with bumps and bruises.”

Here’s the rundown on the rest of the Cubs’ injuries:

Jake Marisnick

The Cubs placed the veteran outfielder on the 10-day IL Tuesday with a right hamstring strain. Ross called it a “mild to moderate” strain and the Cubs will give Marisnick a few days before assessing any sort of timeline.

The 30-year-old said he’s been feeling tightness in his hamstring for a couple of weeks and felt it really grab on him in the 1st inning of Sunday’s game.

He dealt with hamstring issues last year that limited him to only 16 games with the New York Mets.

“Biggest thing is time — you have time this year; you have a full season,” he said. “Last year was a sprint — when one thing went wrong, you tried to push through it. It kinda snowballs on you.

“Hopefully [return] sooner than later and it’s a minor deal. Be able to get it fully good to go and get out there and hit the ground running and not have to worry about a lingering effect or any snowball effect from a minor injury.”

Marisnick is hitting .264 with a .973 OPS in 27 games this season while smacking 4 homers and driving in 14 runs as a valuable role player on the Cubs roster.

To replace Marisnick on the 26-man roster, left-handed reliever Brad Wieck was recalled from Triple-A Iowa.

That gives the Cubs a 10-man bullpen and a short bench, with only Tony Wolters and Nick Martini (plus Báez) on the bench for Tuesday’s game. But the Cubs have the DH throughout this entire road trip, limiting the need for pinch hitters.

Jason Heyward

Heyward came out of Sunday afternoon’s game with a hand issue but he is back in the lineup Tuesday and hoping to put the minor injury behind him.

“Checked with him last night — was all good, ready to go today,” Ross said. “Kinda swelled up on him and was real sticky in a joint area so just thinks maybe it’s something he did on a swing or hitting the ball off the end or something like that.”

Jake Arrieta

The veteran starter was slated to throw a bullpen Tuesday afternoon in Cleveland as he recovers from an abrasion on the thumb of his throwing hand.

Arrieta is on track to return to the Cubs rotation this weekend in Detroit.

Nico Hoerner/Ian Happ

Hoerner and Happ are also eligible to return from the IL this weekend. They both landed on the shelf last week as a result of a collision in the outfield in Cincinnati.

Hoerner has been taking groundballs and swings as he works his way back from a left forearm strain.

Happ has been dealing with a rib injury and his status for this weekend is still to be determined.

“It’s a little slower than anticipated but I think he’s moving in the right direction,” Ross said.

Shelby Miller/Kyle Ryan

The right-handed Miller began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa over the weekend as he recovers from a low back strain.

Ryan has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Iowa. He was designated for assignment by the club last week to clear room for Martini on the 26-man roster when Happ hit the IL.

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