Spring Training Notebooks

Spring Training Notebook: Injuries could mean Cubs are without pair of infielders on Opening Day

1 month agoAndy Martinez

St Notebook Sloan Image

MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs could be without a power bat to start the season.

Patrick Wisdom had been out of the lineup for a few days with back discomfort and was scheduled to play Tuesday against the Diamondbacks. He was scratched from the lineup after going through his ramp-up.

“Patrick got going today and didn’t feel great,” manager Craig Counsell said. “Not really sure what’s gonna happen next, but obviously, it’s concerning that we had to stop today.”

Wisdom was going to be evaluated by the doctor Tuesday before taking any next steps, but the timeline makes Opening Day worrisome for the slugging infielder. He likely wouldn’t get into any game action until later this week at the earliest, Counsell said.

It could mean the Cubs are short a pair of infielders on Opening Day.

Nick Madrigal has begun taking live at-bats after suffering a hamstring injury earlier in camp and could play in a minor-league game by the end of the weekend or early next week.

“It just puts us really close,” Counsell said. “I’m not sure we would have an answer yet there. He’s got a chance to be ready, but it’d be pushing it.”

If the pair aren’t ready, it creates a serious roster question for the Cubs.

Madrigal and Wisdom were expected to be key bench pieces for Counsell. Now, it will be interesting to see how the Cubs choose to fill both bench spots. The team has Dominic Smith and Garrett Cooper in camp on minor-league deals with non-roster invites.

Both have opt-outs in their deals, so they would have to be added to the 40-man roster to stay in the organization. The Cubs currently have a full 40-man roster, but if they can create a spot or two, could include both veterans on their Opening Day 26-man roster.

If the Cubs only create a spot for one, they could choose to have outfielder Alexander Canario. That would give them another optionable player on their bench, too.

Ian Happ (hamstring strain) played his first game in the field on Tuesday, manning his usual left field spot.


Heartwarming moment

Before Tuesday’s game, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo paced to home plate to exchange lineup cards with South Bend Cubs manager Nick Lovullo, his son. The younger Lovullo is entering his first season leading South Bend after serving as the manager for the Cubs’ Arizona Complex League team.

Next Up

The Cubs travel to Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz. to take on the A’s at 3 p.m. on Marquee Sports Network. Adbert Alzolay will get the start in a bullpen game for the Cubs. Shota Imanaga will start a minor-league game at the backfields of Sloan Park.

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