The report that Nico Hoerner was meeting with doctors following an MRI on his right triceps felt a little ominous, at least to those of us who tend to assume the worst. He had taken BP the day before, so there was a sense that something must have happened to prompt the imaging. However, it appears as though his issue is simply a mild-to-moderate strain that should heal perfectly fine on its own.
Nico MRI showed mild-to-moderate (not severe?) triceps strain. No further word on possible move at this point.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubMLB) September 17, 2022
How long that will take and how cautious the Cubs will be with their shortstop is not known, per Gordon Wittenmyer’s tweet. With only 18 games remaining, it’s entirely possible they’ll just shut Hoerner down for the season. That’s too bad because it was looking as though he’d be able to avoid the injury bug that keeps biting him year after year.
While I don’t believe his health will be a major factor in whether the Cubs opt to pursue a big-ticket free agent to take over at short, the looming shift ban may play a role. Hoerner has been a very good defender by any measure, but it’s interesting to note that a great deal of his value has come from playing on the right side due to the shift. That will be eliminated by the new rules, so the Cubs might see him as being even better at second moving forward.
Here's a fun thing I didn't notice until now. While Nico Hoerner has been a very good shortstop, his value there is actually being boosted quite a bit by the shift and…
Playing second base
5 of Nico's 13 OAA have come with him playing short-right field.
— FullCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) September 16, 2022