Seiya Suzuki gets first rest day since returning from IL as Cubs wrap up A’s series

Suzuki reached base five times in the Cubs’ win Tuesday.

SHARE Seiya Suzuki gets first rest day since returning from IL as Cubs wrap up A’s series
The Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki hits a single against the Oakland Athletics on April 18.

Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki had a planned rest day in the Cubs’ series finale against the A’s on Wednesday.

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

OAKLAND, Calif. — Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki had a planned rest day in the series finale Wednesday against the A’s, his first since returning from the injured list last Friday. Patrick Wisdom replaced him in right field.

“He didn’t have a really long rehab assignment, but we tried to get his legs under him,” manager David Ross said Tuesday, before Suzuki’s fifth game in a row. “He says he’s feeling good, so I’m going to trust him and lean on him, and we’ll try to give him a rest at some point. We’re also a little short in the outfield department. So this might be an area right now where we’ll stretch it a little bit. As long as he’s feeling good, I’m going to push the envelope.”

Suzuki is 7-for-20 (.350) to start the season. His first hit was a home run. In the Cubs’ 4-0 win Tuesday, he reached base in all five of his plate appearances, hitting two singles and drawing three walks.

“I don’t think I’m at my best in terms of how my at-bats are going,” Suzuki said through interpreter Toy Matsushita. “I tried to go in the box and sit on pitches, but I ended up chasing pitches outside, which means that I’m not doing very well. But I have a couple of adjustments that I need to make moving forward, and I just want to make sure I get better at-bats.”

Hitting coach Dustin Kelly had a much more enthusiastic evaluation of Suzuki’s start to the season after what amounted to a short spring training-like buildup on the injured list.

“It is as pretty of a swing as it gets,” Kelly said Wednesday morning. “The eye is incredible, he takes the right pitches, he’s swinging at the right pitches. And coming into that Dodger series he saw some really good sliders that he probably just hadn’t seen since spring training — you don’t always see those in Triple-A [on a rehab assignment]. So we knew that there was going to be a time of adjustment for his eyes.”

Kelly pointed to the pitches that were barely out of the strike zone that Suzuki laid off Tuesday, complimenting his discipline.

“And if you miss in the zone with him,” Kelly said, “he’s going to hit it hard because the swing is just so good.”

The Cubs’ next off day isn’t until Monday. The team opens a four-game series Thursday against the Dodgers.

Leading off

Oakland native Nico Hoerner had his own cheering section behind the Cubs’ dugout Tuesday night. They chanted his name when he got up to the plate and switched to “M-V-P” when Hoerner hit a line drive to right field, pushing a run across the plate when A’s outfielder Conner Capel dropped the ball.

Then, in the 12-2 win Wednesday, he led off with a single, extending his on-base streak to 15 games, tying a career high. He went 3-for-5 with a double.

“The contact ability is elite,” Kelly said of Hoerner, who doesn’t quite have the profile of a traditional leadoff hitter. “He doesn’t walk like a normal leadoff hitter would. But that’s because if he gets a pitch in the zone, he puts it in play. He doesn’t swing-and-miss at it, he doesn’t foul it off as much. So when he’s getting a pitch that’s in his zone, he’s putting it in play, and he’s hitting it hard. And he’s doing a really good job up there.”

This and that

First baseman Eric Hosmer logged his first home run as a Cub on Wednesday.

• The Cubs went on late-game scoring sprees this series, scoring 12 runs in the eighth and ninth innings of the three games combined.


Thursday: Michael Grove (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (0-2, 4.50), 6:40 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.

Friday: Julio Urías (3-1, 1.90) vs. Drew Smyly (1-1, 4.70), 1:20 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.

Saturday: Dustin May (1-1, 3.00) vs. Hayden Wesneski (1-0, 4.15), 1:20 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM

Sunday: Clayton Kershaw (3-1, 2.52) vs. Marcus Stroman (2-1, 0.75),1:20 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.

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