Cubs unsure of Dexter Fowler's status after hamstring injury

Cubs unsure of Dexter Fowler's status after hamstring injury

The Cubs are in wait and see mode with Dexter Fowler and his hamstring injury.

Fowler suffered the injury in the first inning of Saturday's Cubs win over the Pittsburgh Pirates and was deemed unavailable for Sunday's series finale at Wrigley Field.

Right now, the Cubs don't know if they're going to have to put their leadoff guy — and the top All-Star vote-getter among National League outfielders — on the disabled list.

"He's sore," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before Sunday's game. "We're still trying to evaluatle length regarding whether he's gotta be DL-able or not."

Maddon said he would speak more with Cubs front office members Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer and the training staff about what the plan for Fowler should be moving forward.

"I don't have a final answer yet," Maddon said. "I really don't know the overall plan yet. I hope to finalize that. Because of course, if he has to be DL'd, we want to get somebody else in here. 

"But as of right now, we have not jumped to any conclusions."

In Fowler's absence Sunday, Jason Heyward moved over to center field, with Kris Bryant manning right field and Chris Coghlan in left and leading off.

The Cubs kick off a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field beginning Monday night on Comcast SportsNet. 

If Fowler were to miss any more time, Heyward could continue to play center, but it could also open up the door for rookie Albert Almora Jr. to see more playing time.

Coghlan and Matt Szczur provide other outfield depth and Bryant's versatility is a boost in situations such as this. 

But losing Fowler would be a big blow to the Cubs. He is boasting a .398 on-base percentage and .881 OPS and is tied for 12th in the NL in runs scored (41). 

Maddon always points to Fowler as the spark of the Cubs offense.

"This first part of the season really took on the tone that it did because of him," Maddon said. "When I say, 'You go, we go,' it's pretty much true. When he's making things happen at the top, the rest of the group seems to fall in order."

Fowler got off to a slow start in his Cubs tenure, hitting just .232 with a .308 on-base percentage in the first half last season. But he turned it on after the All-Star Break, posting a .272/.389/.463 slash line.

Since the break last year, Fowler has scored 89 runs in 135 games with the Cubs, helping the Cubs to a 96-45 regular season record in that span.

"It would not be good if we had to miss him for a bit," Maddon said. "I think we could cover, but he's been all of that. Kinda like the second half of last year, I thought after the All-Star break, he really came on strongly.

"I think this first half has just been a continuation of that. So you hate losing a guy like that, but if you do, then you just move it along and somebody else will show up."

The Cubs already have two players on the disabled list with hamstring injuries — Tommy La Stella and Jorge Soler.

Soler hit the disabled list June 7 and La Stella June 9. 

Both players were out on the field testing their hamstrings by taking ground balls before Sunday's game, but Maddon said La Stella is further along than Soler in the recovery process. 

The Cubs would send La Stella on a rehab assignment before he returns to the big-league club.

Soler still has no timetable to return. 

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition


Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

3:00 - Listener question: Espada or Ross? Kelly Crull shares some inside info on Joe Espada

7:30 - Kelly talks about David Ross' second interview for the Cubs managerial job.

11:30 - Listener question: Say it is Espada, do you see any way David Ross comes on as a coach behind Espada?

13:30 - Listener question: Could the team regress further due to a lack of familiarity with a new manager?

20:10 - Listener question: How hard will Theo and Jed go after Gerrit Cole? And if he's not available who else is?

23:30 - Listener question: Are you trying to extend Castellanos?

26:00 - Listener question: If you sign Castellanos are you also trading Kyle Schwarber?

28:45 - Listener question: Should the Cubs trade Kris Bryant? What would they get back in return?

33:00 - Lighting round: Will Nico Hoerner be the opening day second baseman and keep the job in 2020?

33:10 - Lightning round: Will the Cubs bring back Cole Hamels?

33:45 - Can we and should we clone Javy Baez so we have a fresh Javy when he retires, or is that unethical?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:


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Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

The Cubs' managerial search is in full swing as they continue to line up intriguing candidates to replace Joe Maddon. In recent weeks, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada's name has been floated out as a strong candidate, with reports stating that the Cubs had already scheduled their second interview with the much sought after coach

While the fact that Espada is such a strong candidate in the midst of a World Series run has led many to believe he is the runaway favorite right now, it is still very much so a wide-open race. 

It was reported that while not extremely publicized, former Cub David Ross is believed to have had his second interview with the Cubs organization this week. 

Ross, who was extremely clutch in the Cubs 2016 World Series win, has an obvious and extended history with the organization. And while there are no concrete reports on the nature of any follow-up discussions between Ross and the Cubs, it was stated that the two sides have in fact at least had those expanded conversations.

As Kelly Crull hinted at in her tweet, Ross's position with the franchise definitely makes his negotiations about the managerial opening a bit more fluid, which may lead to fewer updates on his specific discussions with the team.  

Ross and Espada certainly sound like the favorites to land the Cubs' managerial opening, as our own David Kaplan stated that manager Joe Girardi, who has been connected to the Cubs throughout this search, looks like the front-runner for the Philadephia Phillies managerial spot. 

The 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros kicks off on Tuesday night. Traditionally you do not see MLB franchises make their managerial hiring announcements during the World Series,  so the Cubs' announcement could come on one of the World Series off-days, as early as Thursday. 

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