Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki nearing rehab assignment

Suzuki took live batting practice off Cubs pitchers Marcus Stroman and Drew Smyly, who are also recovering from injuries.

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Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki took live batting practice at Wrigey Field on Tuesday.

Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki took live batting practice at Wrigey Field on Tuesday.

Ross D. Franklin/AP file photo

Before the Cubs opened a three-game home series against the Reds on Tuesday, Wrigley Field hosted a promising live batting practice.

Right-hander Marcus Stroman (inflammation, right shoulder) and left-hander Drew Smyly (strained right oblique) each threw two innings, totaling 36 and 32 pitches, respectively. Outfielder Seiya Suzuki (sprained left ring finger) and second baseman Nick Madrigal (strained left groin) hit against them.

“Seiya’s probably at a point where, if he feels good [Wednesday], we’re starting to think about a rehab assignment for him [to] get him out there and get him some consistent at-bats,” manager David Ross said before the Cubs’ 5-3 loss Tuesday.

Suzuki could get that assignment as soon as Wednesday, depending on the feedback the team gets. 

Madrigal, who Ross said “looked really good” in BP, is further behind in his recovery. But Stroman’s and Smyly’s next steps also will depend on how they feel Wednesday. 

Suzuki, in his first MLB season, has been out since injuring his finger stealing second base in Cincinnati a little over a month ago. He continued to test the finger over the following days, hoping to avoid the injured list, and when it became clear he’d need to go on the 10-day IL, he aimed for a return against the Yankees a couple of weeks ago. But after seeing a doctor in New York for yet another opinion, he accepted a prescribed break from hitting. He spent the last week at the Cubs’ spring-training complex in Arizona before rejoining the team Tuesday.

In other injury news . . . 

Outfielder Jason Heyward was out of the lineup for a third straight game Tuesday. The Cubs are treating him for soreness in his right knee and will evaluate him further in the coming days. 

Left-hander Wade Miley, one of three starters on the 15-day IL, along with Stroman and Smyly, played catch.

First baseman Frank Schwindel (strained lower back), who became eligible to return from the 10-day IL on Tuesday, was also set to be re-evaluated. The Cubs haven’t announced a timetable for his activation. In his absence, first baseman Alfonso Rivas entered play Tuesday slashing .310/.344/.414 since being recalled from Triple-A a week and a half ago.

“It’s huge,” Rivas said last week of resetting in Iowa. “I think going down there, I was ready to work, I was ready to seize the opportunity to play every single day, just compete. Even down there, it’s a really good level, so I can still get better — I can still be developing and seize the moment.”

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