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Cubs SS Javy Baez to have MRI on injured thumb

Last year’s NL MVP runner-up has been sidelined since jamming his thumb on a headfirst slide Sunday, and his timeline for a return to the lineup is uncertain.

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Baez was hurt on this play in the third inning Sunday, jamming his left thumb on the bag as he slid headfirst. He left the game three innings later.
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

MILWAUKEE — They finally got their best leadoff hitter, their All-Star catcher and their banged-up MVP third baseman all back in the lineup at the same time the last few days.

So what’s the Cubs’ next trick? Seeing how long they can succeed without their best player.

After another aborted attempt Friday to try to play through a thumb injury, shortstop Javy Baez has been scheduled to have an MRI on the left thumb he jammed sliding headfirst into second base during Sunday’s game against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.

“He tried to swing a little bit and [it] still didn’t feel right,” manager Joe Maddon said. “So as opposed to just continually waiting, we just need to find out what we’re dealing with, and that way make him feel better mentally also.”

Baez said Thursday night he planned to play Friday or Saturday and didn’t think he needed an MRI.

The decision was taken out of his hands.

Maddon said he doesn’t plan to have Baez in the lineup Saturday and wouldn’t speculate on a timeline until the test results are evaluated by the medical staff.

The Cubs trailed the Cardinals by 2½ games in the Central and held a 3½-game lead over the Diamondbacks for the second wild-card spot entering Friday.

After this series in Milwaukee, the Cubs have 20 games left.

Already without closer Craig Kimbrel (sore elbow) until at least the end of next week, they can’t be certain how many of those game’s they’ll have with last year’s MVP runner-up in the lineup.

“He’s very important, my goodness,” Maddon said. “He’s been a little bit off of his game offensively and you know he’s going to get back on it. So that’s been in the back of my mind throughout this whole moment for him.”

Despite the way Baez was hurt, Maddon said he’s fine with the headfirst slide.

“He could get hurt sliding feet first, too,” he said. “He could have gotten hurt getting out of his car.

“It’s part of the game. It’s not a bubble. People are going to get hurt.”