Javier Báez ‘unlikely' to play rest of regular season, could return for postseason


Javier Báez's visit with a hand specialist brought back both good and bad news for the Cubs and their starting shortstop.

In terms of good news, the Cubs told reporters in San Diego that while Báez indeed suffered a hairline fracture in his left thumb, the ligaments are intact. However, he’s unlikely to play in the rest of the regular season and will instead spend that time rehabbing.

The hope is that Báez can return in time for the postseason, though the Cubs must get there first. This obviously will be a much tougher task, now that they won’t have Báez's presence in the starting lineup everyday.

Entering Monday, the Cubs sit 4.5 back of the Cardinals for first in the NL Central and three games back of the Nationals for the top NL Wild Card spot. They're also just 1.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks for the second spot.

With Báez out and Addison Russell – who got hit in the helmet with a pitch on Sunday – in concussion protocol, the Cubs promoted 2018 first round pick Nico Hoerner from Double-A on Monday. Hoerner has just 89 minor league games to his name, but he’s a natural shortstop. Had the Cubs not promoted Hoerner, a combination of David Bote and Ben Zobrist would’ve had to man the position until Russell returns.

Hoerner is starting at shortstop and hitting sixth Monday against the Padres. 

Not only is Báez out, but Kris Bryant has been bothered by a right knee injury for an extended time now and is out of Monday's lineup. He received a cortisone shot on Sunday and his status for Tuesday's game is unclear. 

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