The Cubs’ infield has been hit hard by injuries, but the team appears to be on the road to better health.
Before the game Saturday against the Cardinals, manager David Ross gave positive updates on Matt Duffy (strained lower back), David Bote (dislocated left shoulder) and Nico Hoerner (strained left hamstring) but didn’t offer any timelines for their returns. Duffy, Ross said, is leading the group and could be close to a rehab assignment. Bote has taken light two-handed swings in the batting cage. And Hoerner is continuing to work and gain strength.
“Everybody’s doing well,” Ross said.
What happens when everybody comes back is another question. The Cubs have gotten by as players such as Patrick Wisdom have stepped up.
How to play everybody, though, is the definition of a good problem to have.
“Depth is extremely important,” Ross said. “The more good players you have, the better.”
Wisdom, who was not in the starting lineup, entered Saturday with eight home runs in 48 at-bats.
On Saturday, the Cubs were able to use Wrigley Field’s full capacity for the second time. Joc Pederson appreciated Friday’s experience of playing in front of a full stadium of Cubs fans for the first time this year.
“It’s pretty special,” Pederson said. “It’s been a long time, waiting to play in front of Wrigley’s full capacity. It was one to remember, for sure. That [Anthony] Rizzo at-bat was one of the better at-bats I’ve seen live in person. That was a really cool moment.”
It sounds like Pederson is making a connection with the fans in left field.
“Left field, they’re pretty rowdy out there, so it’s fun,” Pederson said. “It’s a good group out there, and [I’m] just enjoying my time.”
The Cubs recalled right-hander Trevor Megill from Triple-A Iowa and optioned fellow righty Kohl Stewart to Iowa.
Megill, who was put on the 10-day injured list April 30 with a strained right forearm, made his third appearance for the Cubs this season Saturday, loading the bases before Craig Kimbrel earned the save. In five games at Iowa, Megill has a 9.00 ERA.
Stewart is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in three starts with the Cubs this year.
Ross said reliever Justin Steele (strained right hamstring) is strengthening his hamstring and will have a bullpen session in the next day or two.
“Everything seems to be on the up and up and moving in the right direction,” Ross said.
This and that
For the first time since April 20, Kris Bryant started at third base. More than ever, Bryant’s versatility has been a handy tool for the Cubs. Other than third, he has started eight games at first base, 12 in left field, eight in center and 15 in right.
† Zach Davies will start Sunday against Carlos Martinez. The Cubs had not formally announced their starter until about three hours before the game Saturday.