PITTSBURGH — Unless Nico Hoerner has a sudden and complete recovery from the lingering soreness he has experienced the past week, Cubs manager David Ross doesn’t expect the promising young infielder to play the final four games of the season.
That probably seems obvious since Hoerner hasn’t played since starting both games of Friday’s doubleheader. But Hoerner sidestepped an intended injured list move Wednesday when the club pivoted and put Patrick Wisdom on the IL instead for what appears to be a COVID-19-related reason that arose Wednesday.
Hoerner could join him on the IL for the soreness related to previous injuries by Thursday, depending on when another player arrives from Triple-A Iowa.
“I would love him to walk into my office and say I’m ready to go, skip,” Ross said.
But nobody expects that. And the Cubs have no intention of pushing it this close to the end of the season.
“Let’s not get to a place where we waste a lot of time in the offseason with trying to gain a couple more at-bats, a couple more innings at shortstop,” Ross said. “Let’s be able to make sure we’re getting him to see the right people, identifying the problems and moving forward so that we can be playing for a championship, in contention next year.”
It would be Hoerner’s fourth stint on the IL this season after a collision in the field cost him 11 days in May, followed by hamstring (nine days) and oblique (52) injuries that sidelined him another two months combined.
His 44 games this year are four fewer than he played during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Hoerner, a Gold Glove finalist at second base last year, is hitting .302 with a .382 on-base percentage this year.