The Chicago Cubs are either extraordinarily unlucky or they’re mishandling player injuries. Their players can’t stay healthy. Their injured players can’t get healthy.
Add two more players to the list of setbacks. It’s no surprise that Ian Stewart was placed on the disabled list with a strained left quad that he sustained during an intra-squad game in mid-Feb. Despite not taking an at-bat during a Cactus League game, the Cubs appear like they’re willing to eat a $2 million bullet and see if he recovers.
What’s more surprising—and discouraging—was that Scott Baker was shut down after his first Cactus League start. Baker was pitching in a game for the first time since he underwent Tommy John surgery in Apr. 2012. Baker couldn’t make it out of the first inning as he allowed three earned runs on three hits and two walks. He had another MRI on his surgically repaired elbow after he felt soreness.
Before this news of his arm soreness, Baker was supposed to start the season on the 15-day disabled list. He wouldn’t have pitched in a regular-season game before mid-Apr. Now that his arm hurts again and he was reportedly maxing out his fastball at approximately 85-mph, it’s hard to see him return before May. Even that’s optimistic.
And let’s not forget about how every injury that Matt Garza suffers goes from one missed start to two missed starts to a couple months—
Are these injuries happening because of bad luck, players trying to rush their returns before they’re ready, or does it have something to do with the doctors and training staff who deal with them? It’s not the injuries or even the amount of injuries as much as how players are getting injured, re-injuring themselves or not recovering from mild strains.
One can only hope that these types of occurrences won’t happen to other players, especially some of the younger ones who figure as part of the long-term rebuild.