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Cubs avoid DL for Navarro, but not catching issues

ST. LOUIS – The injury scare to catcher Dioner Navarro this week highlighted the biggest deficiency in the Cubs’ organization.

Navarro, who initially appeared to be hurt seriously in Wednesday night’s collision at the plate, looks like he’ll avoid the DL after he was examined in Chicago Friday and diagnosed with a Grade 1 sprain.

But even when looking to call up a catcher from the minors for just a few days, the Cubs had no one at the position who’d earned a spot on the 40-man roster. They selected 33-year-old J.C. Boscan, who was signed as a minor-league free agent in November for much-needed depth in the system.

The Cubs have almost every other everyday position covered with well regarded prospects.

“Catching is an area we’re thin, and we know it,” said general manager Jed Hoyer, whose front office team traded away Geovany Soto last year and Steve Clevenger last month. “We talk about it all the time: ‘How do you acquire catching?’

“And it’s going to be a priority for us over the next couple of years, to find a lot of catching. We’ve made pitching such a priority [the last two drafts and in trades], but that’s an area where we’re very thin, no question.”

NOTES

–Reliever Matt Guerrier, who suffered an elbow injury in Wednesday’s game, has been diagnosed with a “flexor mass” injury that is likely to require surgery – but not Tommy John surgery, say the Cubs.

–Outfield prospect Jorge Soler (leg fracture) is to be examined in Chicago by team doctors and get another bone scan on Monday to determine whether he can return to action before the seasons ends for advanced-A Daytona in a few weeks. He’s a candidate for Arizona Fall League.

–Third baseman Kris Bryant, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft two months ago, is already on the brink of a possible promotion from short-season A Boise to Class A Kane County, pending internal discussions the next few days. He’s hitting .294 with four homers and a .990 OPS in 14 games for Boise.

–Manager Dale Sveum said the club has no plans to skip or otherwise rest Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija – who has struggled the last month – as he approaches a career-high innings total. “As long as we feel he’s not getting tired or losing velocity, we don’t have any plans of doing anything,” Sveum said.