Injury, stomach-flu bugs ravage Cubs bench in matter of days

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Ben Zobrist has been playing through back soreness since the season started.

ST. LOUIS — The walking wounded in the Cubs clubhouse that led to the debut of 2015 first-round draft pick Ian Happ on Saturday included the ongoing back troubles of three-time All-Star Ben Zobrist.

Zobrist’s latest flareup came less than 24 hours after Kris Bryant was scratched from Friday’s lineup because of a bad stomach bug and his replacement, Jon Jay, subsequently left the game because of back spasms.

“It’s never totally gone away,” said Zobrist, who missed time last month because of the back but sounded certain he’ll avoid the disabled list. “I’ve just been playing through it. But it was a little worse [Friday] after the travel, [bad-weather series in] Denver, the doubleheader, off day, all that stuff.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys banged up, so sometimes you’ve got to play through it,” he said.

He and Jon Jay are both considered day-to-day decisions with their injuries.

In addition, shortstop Addison Russell – who hasn’t started since Tuesday because of a sore shoulder, could be back in the lineup Sunday if the shoulder continues to improve, Maddon said.

Bryant was still sick Saturday and will be evaluated again Sunday.

And right fielder Jason Heyward, who’s on the 10-day DL because of a jammed index finger, could return on his first day eligible, Tuesday against Cincinnati.

Notes: Rookie right-hander Felix Pena was optioned to AAA Iowa to make room Saturday for Happ. … Losing Bryant — the third baseman originally in Friday’s lineup in right field – is a bigger blow to the lineup than missing its MVP-winning No. 2 hitter, said Maddon, who called him his “Swiss Bryant Knife” for the defensive flexibility he provides.

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