Nico Hoerner remains optimistic he’ll be able to return to the field for the Cubs before the end of the 2022 season.
“Yeah, that's where my head's at,” the Cubs shortstop said before Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Rockies.
Hoerner missed his sixth straight game Sunday due to a right triceps injury sustained a week prior against the Giants. A recent MRI revealed a mild to moderate strain, results that were "a little worse off than we thought," manager David Ross said Saturday.
The Cubs, who have 16 games remaining, have not placed Hoerner on the IL and had no immediate plans to do so, or shut him down, as of Saturday.
Hoerner, who played catch from 90 feet Sunday and did agility drills in the outfield grass, said he’s “feeling good and making nice progress.”
“If there's an opportunity to be healthy and on the field playing Major League Baseball, I'm gonna do that,” said Hoerner when asked how important it is to him to return this season.
“I think the staff is on the same page with that. Just going day by day with it.”
The Cubs want to make sure Hoerner is 100 percent healthy before he returns to the field. One of the next big steps in his progression figures to be making throws from shortstop distance.
Outside of the triceps injury, the only other extended time Hoerner missed this season came after a freak collision with an umpire in San Diego in May.
He’s played 125 games at a demanding position — and has played it well — answering two big questions surrounding him entering this season: his ability as an everyday shortstop and availability.
“For me, coming off of a hamstring and oblique last year," Hoerner said of his 2021 injuries, "which are two really important baseball muscles, to feel like I'm in a great place with those things and able to play every day for most of the season and have no issues with that, I’m proud of that and how I addressed that.
“You play the game hard every day and things do end up happening. If you do get hurt, you want it to be on a diving play, trying to make an out for your pitcher and things like that.
“I have peace of mind in my preparation and everything that I do," Hoerner added. "I have no regrets on that. It's just part of playing the game hard and make adjustments from there and move on.”