Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Cubs' Baez out with thumb fracture

Christian Yelich Getty Images
Sidney Guerrero | 11 September, 2019, 06:42

The challenge of claiming a playoff spot for the Chicago Cubs has become significantly tougher with Javy Baez absent for the forseeable future as they wrap up a key four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

An MRI revealed Saturday that Baez has a hairline fracture in his left thumb, leaving him unable to swing a bat.

Báez will see a specialist on Monday to establish an official timeline for the injury, but it's safe to estimate he's out until, minimum, playoffs (assuming the Cubs can get there).

AP photoChicago Cubs' Addison Russell, right, steals second base past the tag of Milwaukee Brewers' Cory Spangenberg during the third inning of Sunday's game in Milwaukee. He hasn't played since.

Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was hit in the face by a 94 miles per hour fastball from Houser. "Middle-of-the-order guy and our shortstop". We're going to miss him a lot, but like somebody says: 'One steps out.

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The Milwaukee Brewers had a final chance this weekend to deal direct damage to the Chicago Cubs' grasp on the second NL wild card, and they didn't waste it. We just gotta go out there and play that tight defense.

Adrian Houser (6-5, 3.45) has a 1.63 ERA during a five-start unbeaten run, winning two of those contests while striking out 28 in 27 2-3 innings.

Baez missed two games, then attempted to return Thursday. If anything happened to Russell, the Cubs would roll with David Bote as the backup shortstop and the 38-year-old Zobrist might be next in line after that for the team's most important defensive position.

"He's spent so much time at second base working on this different stroke, now he's gotta go to the other side, get this other one back", Maddon said. But, he saved his greatest heroics for the end of the game.

Beyond his impact on the field, the Cubs are losing a special player in Baez - whom Willson Contreras called "the heart of this team". He fell to his knees, holding his head, but eventually was able to compose himself and walk to first base accompanied by Maddon and two trainers. "He's a perennial All-Star".

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