Seiya Suzuki was scratched from the Cubs’ first spring game and is missing out on the WBC due to a left oblique strain. That kind of injury is both ubiquitous and amorphous, with seemingly increased frequency offering little in the way of clear timelines for recovery. This is really a case of every player and situation being different, but it sounds like Suzuki is progressing.
As Meghan Montemurro tweeted Thursday, the right fielder played light catch the previous day and was scheduled to take dry swings — just swinging a bat with no contact. He’ll continue that routine for a few more days and progress to tee work if everything goes well.
Seiya Suzuki (left oblique strain) played light catch yesterday and will take dry swings in cage today.
He will likely do that routine rest of the week, next step would be swings off a tee if Suzuki feels OK.
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) March 16, 2023
It’s far from a guarantee that Suzuki’s recovery will follow a direct path, as we’ve previously seen with Nico Hoerner. After being shut down for three weeks or so with the same issue two years ago, Hoerner tried to make a rehab start and was quickly shelved again for a few weeks. Between this early juncture and the knowledge that April weather in Chicago isn’t necessarily conducive to peak muscular condition, the team figures to be handling this with kid gloves.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to see a rotating cast of characters in right that features Patrick Wisdom and Trey Mancini, with a solid chance for Mike Tauchman to head north with the big club. The best option would obviously have been for Suzuki to be available from the jump, but this is a great example of the depth Jed Hoyer built in the offseason.
It’s also an example of the World Baseball Classic’s danger to MLB. Many are up in arms about Edwin Diaz blowing out his patellar tendon during an on-field celebration — apparently becoming the first player in history to suffer an injury while in uniform for a team other than his employer — we have to consider that Suzuki’s issue developed shortly after he merely committed to play for Team Japan. Any event with that kind of karmic power surely must be stopped.