These nagging injuries keep interrupting our fun season.
Last night, it was Dexter Fowler’s turn, as he exited the game after two inning with a tight right groin.
Fowler reached base to open the game with a bunt single. Apparently this is when the injury occurred, according to Jesse Rogers.
Let’s hope it’s nothing too serious — Fowler is a vital piece to this team. And the Cubs don’t exactly have an abundance of outfielders lying around.
Good news — it sounded positive after the game:
But if things are more serious, the Cubs will likely look toward Triple-A Iowa and call up Matt Szczur, Arismendy Alcantara or possibly Junior Lake.
Thankfully the Cubs haven’t suffered an injury to one of their top pieces (although Fowler probably is the first one of those), but these injuries are starting to add up. At least it’s early in the season. Better to get them out of the way now, I guess.
Bryant in CENTER?
So for a replacement in center field, how about Kris Bryant? Probably won’t see it on a regular basis, but we saw it in the ninth inning last night.
As always, Bryant was smiling, clearly having fun out there. And of course, the first batter flied out to center.
The change came after Joe Maddon decided to pinch-hit David Ross for Chris Coghlan with a lefty on the mound. The thought was that Bryant would maybe shift from third base to left field.
But center field it was.
More Maddon fun in the top of the ninth with the Cubs down by one. With two outs and Bryant at the plate, he inserted LHP Travis Wood to pinch-run for Anthony Rizzo.
Bryant struck out to end the game, but what if he had hit a game-tying double?
Maddon said after the game that Bryant would have moved to first base, and I assume Wood have played somewhere in the outfield. A crazy ending — even the losses are fun with this team.
Something we may never have believed we’d be happy about, but here we are: Edwin Jackson will be seeing more opportunities out of the bullpen, writes Patrick Mooney.
With Brian Schlitter and Jason Motte not exactly shutting things down at the moment, Jackson will get a turn. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning on Tuesday night, and looked decent.
Another interesting possibility out of the ‘pen may be Gonzalez Germen, who made his first performance for the Cubs last night. Germen went two scoreless and striking out three. He had a really nice change-up working.
All of these uncertainties came about because of injuries to Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm. According to Carrie Muskat, Grimm threw a bullpen session in Arizona yesterday, and Ramirez is rehabbing down there as well. This sounds promising, but hurry back, please.
* Addison Russell recorded his first hit of the year, a single up the middle. He finished the game last night going 1-for-4.
* With the Cubs’ top prospects now in Chicago, let’s not forget about some of the talent still down on the farm. For Double-A Tennessee, Kyle Schwarber collected four hits and Albert Almora and Dan Vogelbach each had two hits and two runs scored. Vogelbach had a home run, five RBIs and a walk. He has been on fire so far this year. The Smokies scored 13 runs on 18 hits.
* The South Bend Cubs’ offense was even more impressive, putting up 16 runs on 20 hits. They also got six scoreless innings from Jeremy Null, who will be someone to watch this year. The Cubs drafted him in the 15th round last year. He’s big — standing at 6’7″ — and has gotten off to a nice start in Single-A.
* Tsuyoshi Wada says he’s ready to pitch in the majors after completing his second rehab start, writes Tommy Birch. Wada pitched 5.1 innings, allowing two earned runs, rehabbing from leg injuries suffered in Spring Training. From what I saw last year, I’d be in favor of the Cubs bringing up Wada soon. The bullpen could certainly use a dependable arm. He could also serve as another starter if Travis Wood begins to struggle or someone in the rotation suffers an injury.
* Pretty neat article from FanGraphs about Kris Bryant’s inside-out-swing double on Tuesday. To sum up the piece: Bryant can do things at the plate that pretty much nobody else can. Very cool.