Cubs

Cubs injury updates: Caratini, Descalso, Montgomery, Cedeno

Cubs injury updates: Caratini, Descalso, Montgomery, Cedeno

The day after backup catcher Taylor Davis had his "unlikely" hero moment, the Cubs got more good news on the overall state of their catching depth.

Victor Caratini took batting practice at Wrigley Field before Sunday's game, the first time he has done so since he underwent surgery to fix the broken hamate bone in his left hand April 15. 

Caratini initially had a 4-6 week timeline and also played catch Sunday afternoon, so he and the Cubs are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in his recovery. The 25-year-old got off to a red-hot start, collecting 4 extra-base hits in his first 6 games to go along with a .571 batting average.

The Cubs like Caratini's defense and burgeoning rapport with Cole Hamels, but they also like Davis' abilities behind the plate and feel comfortable with their current situation behind Willson Contreras. The schedule has been a major assist, as Saturday marked only the second start for Davis since Caratini went down, with Contreras getting so much rest naturally from the Cubs' scheduled off-days. However, the schedule is not as kind moving forward, as the Cubs have only two off-days between now and June 17.

Elsewhere on the injury front, Joe Maddon hopes Daniel Descalso could be available to pinch-hit in Sunday's game and then be ready to rejoin the lineup Monday night against the Marlins. Descalso — who is emerging as a mainstay at second base and in the leadoff spot atop the Cubs' batting order — injured his ankle Saturday rounding first base on a base hit in the first inning.

Mike Montgomery is recovering from a strained lat that has kept him on the shelf since the first week of April and he threw a bullpen Sunday at Wrigley Field. He tossed 6 innings and threw 76 pitches for Triple-A Iowa in a rehab start Friday, though the Cubs don't have a set plan in place for next steps for the 29-year-old left-hander.

Xavier Cedeno is also nearing a return, as the veteran southpaw is slated to throw in a scheduled back-to-back, with an outing in Triple-A Sunday night and Monday. He missed all of spring training with a wrist injury, so the Cubs are trying to simulate an entire training camp's worth of work. They also don't have a dire need for the 32-year-old in Chicago, as Kyle Ryan has filled the lefty role in the bullpen admirably the last few weeks.

The Cubs have a maximum of 30 days to use on a rehab assignment and Cedeno's clock runs out sometime in the next week.

 

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Two of the Cubs' best prospects made Keith Law's annual Top 100 list

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USA Today

Two of the Cubs' best prospects made Keith Law's annual Top 100 list

For those who follow such things, Keith Law's yearly Top 100 prospect rankings is always a highly anticipated read. What would baseball twitter even do with their time if they couldn't spend it vocally disagreeing with subjective lists? Having a handful of Top 100 guys is always a shot in the arm for franchises that maybe aren't doing a whole lot of winning at the major league level; when you know you're not winning a World Series, the debuts of these prospects are high points of the summer. 

There wasn't a whole lot of Cubs' representation this season, which isn't a surprise by any means. Only guys two made Law's list: Brennen Davis at 55, and Brailyn Marquez at 80.  

Law claims Davis has the highest upside of any Cubs' prospect, but isn't necessarily close to a debut: 

Davis is lanky and has barely begun to fill out, so there’s likely to be more power to come, while he’s already shown he can manage at-bats and use the middle of the field to get himself on base. Despite his 6′4″ frame he already has a very balanced swing, and the Cubs will just have to tighten up some mechanical things since he’s got such long levers. A former shortstop, he’s adapted quickly to center field; he projects to stay there and add value with his range. 

He also loves Marquez's stuff – comparing it to Aroldis Chapman's – and says it's the reason why he's team's best pitching prospect since Dylan Cease. You can see the entire rankings, which go pretty in-depth, right here. 

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

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USA TODAY

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

Brandon Morrow’s comeback attempt has hit a bump in the road.

Morrow, the Cubs reliever and former closer, has what the club is calling a “mild right upper chest strain,” according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Bastian added Morrow felt the strain in his last bullpen session and there is no clear timeline for his return.

The strain is the latest ailment to sideline the oft-injured Morrow, who hasn't pitched since July 2018 due to a series of arm troubles. The 35-year-old has undergone two elbow surgeries since then (November 2018, September 2019) before becoming a free agent this winter. He rejoined the Cubs on a minor-league deal.

Morrow entered camp optimistic the latest procedure did the trick to get his elbow healthy. The Cubs have been easing him into action — the right-hander is throwing one bullpen every four days. Morrow said earlier this month he’s experienced some aches and pains but attributed those to being part of the rehab process.

Morrow is listed as day-to-day, according to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune. But considering his injury history — and the fact he was already unlikely to crack the Opening Day roster —  the Cubs will proceed with extreme caution. There's no need to expedite his return, mild strain or not.

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