PITTSBURGH – The Cubs outfield has gone from an area of strength and depth to the hardest hit area for injuries in a matter of hours.
Four weeks after the Cubs lost left fielder Kyle Schwarber for the rest of the season to a knee injury, Gold Glove right fielder Jason Heyward (wrist) and hot-hitting outfielder Matt Szczur (hamstring) were sidelined Monday.
Heyward, who has been nursing a sore wrist he originally hurt taking swings in the cage during the opening week of the season, finally sought help from the trainers after Sunday’s game. He doesn’t expect miss more than a couple games.
Szczur, on the other hand, is scheduled to have an MRI on his right hamstring after he hurt it scoring from third on a rundown play in the fifth inning of Monday night’s 7-2 victory over the Pirates.
The Cubs already were looking at possible roster moves Monday night to add an outfielder from AAA Iowa in case Szczur needs to go on the disabled list.
Any outfielder from Iowa would require a 40-man roster move. One possibility would be to add an infielder such as Munenori Kawasaki and consider Javy Baez an outfielder short-term. That seems unlikely with Heyward compromised.
“When I pushed off [during the rundown}, I kind of felt something, but I was able to run home, so I don’t think it’s anything severe,” said Szczur, who downplayed the possibility of a DL move. “I would hope not.”
Heyward, the $184 million jewel of the Cubs’ offseason, finally had enough of self-treating the balky right wrist that never fully recovered, he said. The cold, damp weather last week may have contributed to his 0-for-17 homestand.
“It’s easy to manage in warmer weather than colder weather,” he said. “I just felt like it was time to say something, just to get some expert help.
“It didn’t go away as soon as I would like it to go away,” he added. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take or how long it’s going to be until I feel better – I am feeling better from doing [treatment].”
Heyward hasn’t had an MRI, and the Cubs’ medical staff so far doesn’t believe the injury is severe enough to warrant one. Heyward, who said he thought he’d be in the lineup Monday even after seeking treatment Sunday, said he’s confident it’s not a DL injury.
Manager Joe Maddon plans to give Heyward another day off Tuesday, but said “I don’t think it’s a long-term kind of thing by any means.”