Cubs center fielder Jake Marisnick sped up just before second base before slowing to a stop on the other side of the bag. He was in the middle of another series of tests Friday morning, after about two and a half weeks on the injured list.
Marisnick’s progression over that time may provide a window into second baseman Nico Hoerner’s future while rehabilitating a similar-grade hamstring strain.
The Cubs have four players on the IL with hamstring strains: outfielders Marisnick and Jason Heyward, pitcher Justin Steele and infielder Hoerner. Marisnick and Heyward went through running drills Friday morning, before the Cubs’ home game against the Reds.
“I don't think there's been a common thread among us, that there's one thing to put your finger on or an obvious change to make,” Hoerner said Friday, two days after he landed on the IL. “I have a lot of trust in our strength staff and trainers and know I’m in good hands.”
Major League Baseball as a whole is limping through a rash of injuries, a trend many predicted coming off a shortened 2020 season.
The Cubs have seven players on the 10-day IL and three more on the 60-day IL. Among the short-term injuries, hamstring strains are the most common, followed by back injuries (Alec Mills, Matt Duffy). Though not on the IL, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been out of the lineup for three games with lower back tightness.
The Cubs could welcome back outfield reinforcements as soon as this coming week.
Cubs manager Ross said last week that he expected they’d send Marisnick on a rehab assignment before activating him, but Ross softened that stance Friday.
“I think it's just about being on his feet, trying to get some conditioning on his body out there in some game instances,” Ross said. “That would probably be the goal for us, but we're super thin, and so we'll have to play that by ear as it as it comes up this coming week.”
Marisnick is already eligible to return from the IL, and Heyward will become eligible this weekend.
Hoerner likely has several weeks of recovery and rehab ahead of him.
“The first couple days are very low-key, getting inflammation out,” Hoerner said. “And then you go from there. We don't have a specific timetable right now, but we're going to take care of it as best we can. And I feel good about where we're at.”