Cubs

Cubs still unsure when they'll get star Javy Baez back from injury

Cubs still unsure when they'll get star Javy Baez back from injury

MILWAUKEE - Javy Baez's left thumb is still not well enough for the star shortstop to suit up as the Cubs continue to try to catch the St. Louis Cardinals in the division.

The 2018 NL MVP runner-up came out of Sunday's game after injuring his thumb on a slide and collision at second base on a stolen base. He has not played since, though he was initially in the lineup for Thursday's game in Milwaukee before ultimately having to be scratched when he couldn't go through a complete batting practice routine.

Baez initially got an X-ray Sunday when the injury happened, which came back negative. He will now go for an MRI Saturday morning in Chicago, after which he and the Cubs hope to have a clearer picture of his status.

"When he came in, he tried to swing a little bit and still didn't feel right," Joe Maddon said Friday. "So as opposed to just continually waiting, we need to find out for sure what we're dealing with and that way it should make him feel better mentally."

It's unlikely Baez will return to the lineup Saturday and the way things are going, it would not be surprising if he did not play at all this weekend in Milwaukee. The Cubs head to San Diego Monday to begin a four-game series on the West Coast and are currently 2.5 games behind the Cardinals in the division.

Whenever the Cubs get Baez back, it will be a massive boost to the lineup, simply as a presence even if he's not going well at that particular moment.

"I know he's been frustrated by not being quite himself at the plate in the second half," Theo Epstein said Thursday. "I always feel like he's one swing away from catching fire and can change the face of our lineup when he gets hot. He contributes in so many different ways and when he's locked in and making good decisions, he tends to drive the ball all over the ballpark and knock in a ton of runs. He's someone pitchers have to work around in an order."

The Cubs have been talking a lot lately about the "length" of their lineup now that Ben Zobrist is back in the leadoff spot (at least on a part-time basis) and Willson Contreras is back from his hamstring injury. Add in the addition of Nicholas Castellanos and the recent emergence of Kyle Schwarber and it certainly has the potential to be a formidable lineup even without Baez.

Imagine how it would look once he returns.

The 26-year-old shortstop had been struggling offensively even before the injury, posting a .264 batting average and .782 OPS since the All-Star Break. Those numbers dip to a .232 average and .647 OPS since Aug. 5, with only 1 homer and 9 RBI in 23 games.

Still, he is second on the team in RBI (85) and homers (29). He also leads the team in WAR (4.7) and is a central part of their run prevention even in games where he's not hitting. But when he is hitting, he has the potential to carry an entire lineup.

So there's a lot riding on this MRI Saturday.

"It's very important, my goodness," Maddon said. "He's been a little bit off with his game offensively and knowing that he's gonna get back on it at the right time, so that's been in the back of my mind throughout this whole moment for him.

"But it is what it is. Addison [Russell] is a wonderful shortstop in his own right. Probably doesn't have the same offensive pedigree that Javy does, but [Russell] can play shortstop with anybody. I'm just gonna wait, see what they say and figure out what the game plan actually is."

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Chicago athletes react to nationwide unrest over George Floyd killing

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NBC CHICAGO

Chicago athletes react to nationwide unrest over George Floyd killing

Chicago athletes are using their social media platforms to react to the nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Cubs second baseman Jason Kipnis quoted Martin Luther King Jr., expressing sadness over the fallout, which has included riots in cities across the nation.

Saturday night, White Sox starter Lucas Giolito said it's "time to do better" and "time for true equality & justice for all Americans." Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who played three seasons in Minnesota, tweeted "this has been going on for hundreds of years now!"

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson tweeted Nike's response, a somber video calling on Americans to "all be part of the change." Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward shared the same video on his Instagram story.

Bulls big man Wendell Carter Jr. asked "Is it that hard to just do the right thing and love one another" on Twitter.

Cubs World Series hero Dexter Fowler posted a photo on Instagram reading "I can't breathe" Thursday, writing "This isn't right. This can't go on."

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Here’s the thing. I know it’s hard to fully grasp why black people are outraged. It’s hard to grasp unless you’ve seen people hold their purses tighter when you walk by, when you have people refer to you as “not black” when you’re not “ghetto”. When your parents have to give you a talk when you’re just a kid. “you can’t act like your white friends. you’ll get killed. they won’t” This is a generational discussion EVERY black family has. It terrifies you as a kid, and as an adult. You don’t understand why we know, those officers didn’t flinch at murdering that man, because he is black. The race card. We hold it. You tell us “it’s not about race” if we ever hold you to it. You don’t want us to have even that 1 bone chilling “privilege” of defense. You don’t want us to hold any privilege. We don’t hold the privilege of being a criminal, making a mistake, or simply taking a jog, the same as a white man, and being treated the same. He couldn’t breathe. He was murdered. They were gently fired from their jobs. This isn’t right. This can’t go on. (if you assume “you”, is you, and you’re upset about the generalization...... just think about that for a second)

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What a 2020 Cubs season might look like if MLB, union reach agreement

What a 2020 Cubs season might look like if MLB, union reach agreement

Assuming safety protocols are effective enough to allow teams to play in their home stadiums and prevent coronavirus outbreaks well enough to play the three-month MLB season and subsequent postseason, we took a shot, based on conversations with multiple industry sources, at answering how the Cubs might handle several logistical questions.

The nature of the COVID-19 pandemic makes any plan open to sudden and possibly dramatic change. But if the current trends don’t change significantly in the coming weeks and months, and the generally optimistic signals from local authorities continue, a baseball season in Chicago can start to at least be envisioned. 

And here are seven glimpses of what that vision might include — with an unexpected bonus to whet fan appetite at No. 4.

What a 2020 Cubs season might look like if MLB, union reach agreement

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