Cubs’ Nico Hoerner planning to avoid IL stint after hamstring injury

Imaging revealed a mild strain of Hoerner’s left hamstring, he said Tuesday.

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Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner was out of the lineup Tuesday with a mild strain of his left hamstring. File photo.

Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner was out of the lineup Tuesday with a mild strain of his left hamstring. File photo.

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Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner knew what he felt, but it still was reassuring to have the imaging support his personal evaluation.

Hoerner was diagnosed with a mild strain of his left hamstring, he revealed Tuesday. He was out of the lineup against the Cardinals and is considered day-to-day, but a stint on the injured list isn’t part of his treatment plan.

‘‘Obviously, any discomfort that you feel on the field isn’t the best,’’ Hoerner said. ‘‘But really happy with how we’ve treated it so far and how I’m recovering.’’

Though Hoerner’s absence will be felt — he’s hitting .303 as the Cubs’ tone-setting leadoff man and playing high-level defense — the team has the personnel to weather his injury.

The Cubs happened to recall utility player Christopher Morel, who had an eye-catching 1.156 OPS at Triple-A Iowa, before the game Monday. He started at second base Tuesday.

‘‘I think Morel’s natural position is a little bit more up the middle,’’ manager David Ross said, referring to conversations he had with coaches Andy Green and Jonathan Mota, who work with the infielders. ‘‘It feels really clean. I think he showed a little bit of that last year, moving him around.’’

Nick Madrigal started at third base, but he has played second most of his career. Patrick Wisdom can play third with Madrigal or Morel at second, so Ross has options as he fills out the lineup card each day Hoerner is out.

‘‘We have a roster that’s very deep at the major-league level and down into Triple-A and the guys we’ve brought up,’’ Hoerner said. ‘‘And I’m really grateful to have that around us.’’

The Cubs have a day off Thursday and could use it to give Hoerner three days of recovery for the price of two games missed.

‘‘There’s a world where he’s OK to play today,’’ Ross said before the game Tuesday.

The timeline will depend on Hoerner’s response to treatment each day. If he isn’t progressing as expected by Thursday, the Cubs could consider a move to the IL and backdate it up to three days.

In 2021, Hoerner dealt with a strained left hamstring that required almost six weeks on the IL. That injury felt different from the tightness he experienced going from first base to third in the fifth inning of the Cubs’ 3-1 loss Monday to the Cardinals.

Hoerner was on first when Dansby Swanson hit an RBI double down the left-field line and saw the ball carom off the retaining wall.

‘‘Obviously hoping to score on that ball,’’ Hoerner said. ‘‘I think I would have.’’

But he felt a tug at the back of his left leg, breaking his stride. He wasn’t going to make it. Hoerner slowed on his way to third.

‘‘I’ve had injuries before,’’ he said. ‘‘It did not feel like an, ‘Oh, wow, I’m injured,’ type of thing.’’

Hoerner said he wasn’t carrying any nagging issues entering the game. And he had recovered well from a 14-inning game Sunday, the Cubs’ 13th in a row without a day off.

‘‘Can’t control everything, unfortunately, in this game,’’ Hoerner said. ‘‘And things are going to show up sometimes.’’

Hoerner played in each of the Cubs’ first 35 games. He had a snakebitten 2021 season, but his only injury in 2022 came in a freak collision with an umpire in the field. He still played a career-high 135 games last season.

‘‘Hopefully we’ll get him back out there fairly soon,’’ right-hander Marcus Stroman said Monday. ‘‘He’s one of those guys that kind of makes us go as a team.’’

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