NEW YORK — Cubs shortstop Javy Baez, a late scratch before Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals, was out of the lineup for a second straight game Monday with a sore right thumb, coming in only to pinch-hit against the Mets in the eighth inning and grounding out.
Baez injured the thumb Saturday attempting to dive into the stands for a pop-up in foul territory. He did infield drills before Monday’s game and hit in the cage after receiving treatment.
Baez previously dealt with soreness in the lower part of the thumb during the Cubs’ West Coast trip. This time around, the discomfort is closer to the knuckle.
“It doesn’t feel that bad,” he said. “I just don’t like to be out with small things like this.”
The Cubs, who have been treading water while several players deal with injuries, are starting to get some players back and have a few more on the way. Manager David Ross said infielders David Bote (dislocated left shoulder) and Nico Hoerner (strained left hamstring) have both started to take swings. Infielder Matt Duffy (strained lower back), who has ramped up his baseball activities in recent weeks, likely will begin a rehab assignment soon. And right-hander Trevor Williams (appendectomy) has continued to throw and will see a doctor for a second follow-up to get the green light to return.
No breaks for Cubs this time
The Cubs have performed well in what was supposed to be a challenging June, but keeping that success going won’t be easy against the Mets. The Cubs avoided facing pitchers Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman during the teams’ first series in Chicago but will see both on the back side of this four-game set in New York.
“I think you assess daily whoever’s on the other side pitching when you’re facing some of the best,” Ross said. “Obviously, Jacob deGrom is one of the best in this game. That’s a nice test for us. Marcus Stroman is having a great season. We just faced another really good one in San Diego in Yu Darvish, who’s really good.
“I think we’re tested nightly. You can never let your guard down. You have to bring it every single day. [The Mets] are a good team in first place in their division, so I think every test in every game in this series will be big, and we just try to keep that momentum going and play the good baseball we’ve been playing.”