Cubs

Alex Rodriguez seems to believe Yu Darvish has lost respect in the Cubs locker room

Alex Rodriguez seems to believe Yu Darvish has lost respect in the Cubs locker room

The Cubs Sunday night finale with the Cardinals ended in a win for the Cubs, but the main take away from the game involved some obscure comments from the polarizing Alex Rodriguez, who was on the ESPN broadcast team for Sunday's game. 

The former player-turned-ESPN broadcaster made comments suggesting that the Cubs clubhouse was starting to grow tired of Yu Darvish and his lingering injury issues. 

Rodriguez didn't provide any further information on Darvish and the state of the Cubs clubhouse, but did name drop Tyler Chatwood, implying the Cubs are more willing to support him because of his level of effort despite the poor results. 

Cubs skipper Joe Maddon was quoted in the Chicago Tribune Monday dispelling the comments made by Rodriguez, referring to them as "unfortunate." 

“I totally disagree with that,” Maddon said. “Everyone knows what’s going on. We know there is an injury there. We support his recovery. Everybody in there knows and everyone in the coaches’ room knows also, throughout the organization." 

Darvish had an encouraging 23-pitch bullpen session last week but hasn't managed to get himself back on a major league mound since May 20th. The 31-year-old Darvish made one rehab start for Single-A South Bend on June 25th, going 5 innings allowing only 1 run on three hits with 5 strikeouts, but despite the encouraging start, Darvish's return was delayed when he was diagnosed with an elbow impingement. 

The $126 million dollar man is on the right track to recovery but it has and will continue to be a slow rehab process as Darvish concentrates on getting back to the Cubs entirely healthy. 

 

Javy Baez nearing return to Cubs

Javy Baez nearing return to Cubs

Javy Baez could follow in the footstep of his teammates in the very near future.

It would not be a surprise to see Baez take a page out of Anthony Rizzo's book (and Kyle Schwarber before him, in 2016) and make a quick return to the field in the Cubs' time of need.

Baez broke his left thumb Sept. 1 on an awkward play at second base and has been sidelined since.

However, he has been cleared to pinch-run and for light baseball activities, including hitting off a tee. 

Joe Maddon said he was "close" to utilizing "El Mago" as a runner in Wednesday night's game. Maddon instead utilized Daniel Descalso to pinch-run for Victor Caratini in the bottom of the 10th inning, but the Cubs manager said he will be ready to call Baez's name Thursday night or this weekend if a situation arises.

Baez would need to wear a big mitt on his left hand to help protect that thumb when he is running the bases and Maddon said neither he nor the coaching staff will try to convince Baez to slide feet-first now instead of headfirst. 

"He's doing really well," Maddon said. "Those big ole oven mitts — that's all he's gonna need, I think. And then it also provides the potential for being safer, getting in there a little bit sooner. It is what it is. He's progressing well."

At this point, Baez is having more of an issue defensively (using that thumb to close his glove) than he has hitting.

The Cubs still don't know when their All-Star shortstop will be able to return to game action, but if the Rizzo situation has shown us anything, it's to expect the unexpected. 

Especially right now, with the season on the line and the Cubs battling for the division against the first-place Cardinals all weekend (and then again for three games next weekend in St. Louis).

Maddon said Baez has been getting "antsy" in the dugout lately, hoping to get an opportunity to get into a game in some capacity.

Beyond pinch-running, the 2019 NL MVP runner-up may be available for pinch-hitting duties, possibly even as soon as this weekend.

"It's good for all of us. Rizz wants in there, [Baez] wants in there," Maddon said Thursday afternoon, roughly 90 minutes before Rizzo made his stunning return. "They all want to be out there. It's hard to imagine what they're gonna be able to do after injury. But we're gonna find out. 

"Weirdly, there's a little rest involved, too, that can actually make them feel even stronger and better at this particular moment. As they say they're ready to play, we'll play 'em."

Cubs Talk Podcast: Showdown with St. Louis

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Showdown with St. Louis

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast...

01:00 Is this the biggest series ever against the Cardinals

07:15 Would you have pinch-hit for Chatwood in the 8th inning Wednesday

10:15 Will Dexter Fowler be a factor in this series?

11:30 Are you surprised where the Cubs are at this season?

16:00 Is Kris Bryant injury prone or just unlucky?

19:00 How many will the Cubs win in this series vs STL?

21:00 If there was to be a sweep, which team is more likely to sweep

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

Cubs Talk Podcast

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