CINCINNATI — The Cubs activated second baseman Nico Hoerner from the 10-day injured list before their series finale Sunday against the Reds. Hoerner was in the starting lineup and batted sixth.
‘‘It won’t exactly feel like a normal game,’’ Hoerner said before going 0-for-4 in the Cubs’ 3-2 loss that extended their losing streak to nine games. ‘‘[Some] games do feel different. That’s real. I’m excited. I’m ready to go out there.’’
Hoerner missed 35 games while recovering from a strained left hamstring suffered May 26. He was slashing .338/.405/.432 with seven doubles in 21 games before getting hurt.
‘‘When you can’t control what’s happening on the field, it’s a little harder to just kind of make sense of,’’ Hoerner said. ‘‘You’d like to be able to go back to things that you could have done different yourself or things you can learn from. All I could really do to help the team was get healthy, and I feel really happy with that process.
‘‘The training staff is really great, and they’ve had a tough year — just like all teams in baseball, really — dealing with things out of their control. I really appreciate them in this process.’’
It’s been a revolving door at second base since Hoerner went down, and the Cubs have gotten very little production from the position. Ian Happ occasionally has had to shift from the outfield to second in an effort to get the Cubs more offense.
‘‘I think it’ll help,’’ manager David Ross said Saturday of Hoerner’s return. ‘‘We’ve got to do a lot of things better offensively than we’ve been doing, but I think Nico is definitely a high-caliber player we’ll be welcoming back. . . . Just making sure he’s all the way healthy. He’ll play some, and [we’ll] mix in some off days before the All-Star break.
‘‘It’s an exciting player to have back. He was a big part of our offense when we were going good, and [I] hope he can come back and kind of fit right in and continue to contribute like he was before he got hurt.’’
To make room for Hoerner on the active roster, the Cubs optioned infielder Sergio Alcantara to Triple-A Iowa. Alcantara slashed .179/.282/.403 with three doubles, three triples and two home runs in 30 games.