The Cubs haven’t had much reason to complain about their health. Yes, Tommy La Stella, Zac Rosscup and Neil Ramirez have missed significant time, but the Cubs have had few problems with injuries.
Before Monday’s game with the Cleveland Indians, the Cubs placed Jorge Soler (left oblique strain) and Jason Motte (right shoulder strain) on the 15-day disabled list. They recalled La Stella and Rosscup from Iowa to take their places just as the Cubs prepare to travel to San Francisco and Los Angeles for what could be a season-defining trip.
“Just one of those things that happens that everybody faces,” manager Joe Maddon said. “The different dilemmas this time of the year and you’ve just got to play through the bad lie.”
Soler, who also missed time earlier with an ankle injury, was replaced by Chris Denorfia in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game and Motte worked that frame. Motte said Monday he felt “funkiness” three or four throws into his inning Sunday but finished despite not getting the usual velocity on his fastball. He got an MRI later that night and was placed on the DL the next day.
“It is what it is. It stinks because obviously you want to be out there. I wanted to be out there yesterday,” Motte said. “I felt it and I was like ‘You know what, I’ll keep going.’ It wasn’t crazy where a knife’s sticking into me the entire time so I went out there and got through it.”
That’s what the Cubs will have to do without their starting right fielder and one of their late-inning bullpen arms. Maddon, however, sounds comfortable with what he has.
“It’s called depth. You have to have depth,” Maddon said. “The player that is depth when it all starts out doesn’t like being depth, but he is and then all of a sudden he gets his opportunity and then good things happen.”
La Stella was expected to have a big role but went on the DL on April 14 with a right oblique strain before re-aggravating it in May. He figures to play plenty of second base while Chris Coghlan moves to Soler’s spot in right.
“It’s an unpredictable injury. It could be relatively fast,” Maddon said of Soler. “It could take a while. I’m not sure.”
Addison Russell also didn’t start Monday because of a groin issue suffered Sunday along with his fiancé going into labor.
What about Javy?
With all the roster turnover, some figure that Javier Baez could return soon from Triple-A. Entering Monday, Baez was hitting .304 with 12 homers and Maddon said he’s getting reports about the young infielder’s improved swing and approach.
That doesn’t mean Maddon’s in a rush to bring him back to the majors.
“Baez is doing really well. I’ve been talking to (Theo Epstein) about it. He’s doing extremely well,” Maddon said. “The plan with him is to have him continue to do well. Just because once a guy starts doing well does not mean he has to be called up immediately. He’s still learning his craft.
“His time will be coming, but definitely he’s on the radar screen absolutely.”
Back to school
Not many Cubs had good offensive days Monday. Especially Kyle Schwarber.
Schwarber went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, with three coming against Corey Kluber.
“He got schooled a little bit today,” Maddon said.
Schwarber got little to hit in the middle of the plate, as Kluber was able to put the ball on the edges of the zone.
“I know that Kyle will definitely file that but I really believe he’s going to have a nice game tomorrow,” Maddon said.
At the formal announcement of Toyota’s legacy sponsorship, Tom Ricketts was repeatedly asked about increased fan safety after a fan was injured by a Schwarber foul ball Sunday.
Ricketts didn’t dismiss adding more protective netting.
“We are looking at doing all the safety measures and the league is also looking at it,” Ricketts said. “We’ll have more in the future.
“I think everyone should look at it. Obviously, fan safety is the number one concern so we have to make sure that we’re doing what we can on that front.”