Cubs manager Joe Maddon was able to put second baseman Daniel Descalso back in his lineup Sunday now that his left ankle is healthy again. Descalso had to leave the game May 4 against the Cardinals and has only pinch hit since. Thanks to regular looks as a pinch hitter, he should return to normal productivity quickly.
"I think I had a couple good at-bats off the bench," Descalso said Sunday. "Lined out a couple of times, so I think I’m right where I need to be."
Descalso was very productive through the first five weeks of the season before his injury. He had a .757 OPS in March and April with 5 doubles and 2 home runs. Descalso has hit the ball hard this year, averaging a tick over 90 mph off of the bat so far. He pinch hit six times in the last week, something that Joe Maddon said was important for keeping his timing as he returns to the lineup.
Maddon had Descalso batting seventh in the lineup Sunday, a spot he said he felt would help Descalso ease back toward the top of the batting order, where he has spent a lot of time this season.
"I didn’t put him right to the top," Maddon said of Descalso's lineup spot Sunday. "It’s just that he’s been off pretty much the whole week. Give him a couple of at-bats to get back in the swing of things."
Descalso said that he spent the week working daily to keep his ankle from tightening up and getting worse, even through cold weather and rain. He agreed that getting to pinch hit regularly helped.
"It didn’t help, but I don't think it hurt too bad," Descalso said of last week's cold. "But it’s been ok when I pinch hit and have to run around a little bit."
Having Descalso back in the lineup helps to give Maddon flexibility with his infield while Ben Zobrist is still away from the team for personal reasons. In the meantime, Descalso should have opportunity to be productive in the bottom third of the order.
"I do like him there," Maddon said of his spot in the lineup. "That 7 hole has a tendency to get people on base."
This season, Descalso has 28 at-bats in the seventh spot, where he has hit .393 with one of his home runs and three of his doubles.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Cubs easily on your device.