Cubs injury update: Nick Madrigal set to return to game action Sunday

Mychal Givens debuted, and Andrelton Simmons and Wade Miley gave insight into their arm injuries.

SHARE Cubs injury update: Nick Madrigal set to return to game action Sunday
John Antonoff/Sun-Times

The Cubs held second baseman Nick Madrigal from a game with leg fatigue.

MESA, Ariz. — A day after being held out of the lineup for what the Cubs deemed to be leg fatigue, second baseman Nick Madrigal said he felt great. 

Madrigal, who had season-ending surgery on a torn right hamstring last June, said he felt tightness in his right glute as he warmed up Friday, possibly stemming in part from a tight lower back. 

“I thought that as I got warm, it would kind of go away,” Madrigal said Saturday, “And then yesterday, it was just lingering around. I started to run some bases, and they saw me not 100% and immediately pulled me out.”

Madrigal said he told the medical staff he could play, but the Cubs wanted to take a cautious approach. He went through workouts Saturday and is scheduled to play in a minor-league game Sunday. 

“My ultimate goal is to be out there every day, but I know it was a big surgery, and there’s a smarter approach to it,” Madrigal said, looking ahead to the regular season. “I think it’s just something we have to be in communication with the training staff, the coaches [about] throughout the year and see where it goes.”

Givens debuts

Reliever Mychal Givens threw a hitless inning with a walk and three strikeouts in his Cubs spring debut. 

He was on the schedule to throw in a game earlier in the week but opted for a bullpen session instead. Manager David Ross said he was experiencing soreness, but Givens downplayed that, saying he didn’t want to jump right into a game after only throwing a bullpen session and one session of live batting practice. 

Givens, whom the Cubs signed a week and a half ago, didn’t commit to being ready in time for Opening Day, saying, “My body will tell me, and we’ll see.”

Simmons still slowed

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons didn’t completely rule out returning in time for Opening Day.

“But I also want to be game-ready,” he said. “I don’t want to come in and have to catch up. So hopefully I’ll work with the staff, and they’ll tell me the plan on when a good time to start is.”

He is still progressing in his throwing program, making it unlikely that he’ll reach that goal by Thursday. 

Miley optimistic

Left-hander Wade Miley, whom the Cubs shut down from throwing for 10 days after an MRI exam this week showed elbow inflammation, said he won’t have to start over the ramp-up process when he’s cleared to throw. 

“I just want to get to it now instead of fighting it all year,” he said, adding that he’ll continue with his shoulder program in the meantime. “I feel like we can get ahead of it now and be fine. The MRI looked pretty good for a 35-year-old with a lot of innings. I was pretty pleased.”

Miley is expected to begin the season on the injured list.

Chavez selected

The Cubs selected the contract of veteran righty Jesse Chavez from Triple-A. Chavez signed a minor-league deal with a spring-training invitation last month. He gives the Cubs another reliever who can throw multiple innings.

Cubs 5, Angels 4

Leiter on the bump

Right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. made his first start of the spring Saturday, throwing three scoreless innings.

Leiter, whom the Cubs signed to a minor-league deal in December, had made three relief appearances this spring, posting a 1.35 ERA in those outings. 

“I came in trying to just keep getting better each week, and with the shorter spring, trying to improve off the last one,” Leiter said. 

The Cubs moved right-hander Marcus Stroman’s next start to a minor-league game Sunday, which lines him up to start the second game of the Cubs’ opening series against the Brewers. 

Suzuki says see ya 

Right fielder Seiya Suzuki got his second hit of the spring. And — you guessed it — it was another home run. 

This time, Suzuki launched a towering solo shot to left-center field to tie the score in the fourth inning. 

2-for-2 club

Two Cubs had multihit performances. First baseman Frank Schwindel and outfield prospect Owen Caissie each went 2-for-2.

Caissie, 19, has made the most of his opportunities this spring with a .556 batting average. 

Walk it off

The game ended on a walk-off three-run homer, courtesy of minor-leaguer Grayson Byrd.

It was Byrd’s third at-bat in a major-league spring-training game and second of the day. 

On deck 

Cubs at Guardians, Goodyear, 8:05 p.m., Marquee, Justin Steele vs. Cal Quantrill.

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