If Thursday evening offered some cautious optimism regarding Kyle Schwarber's left leg, Friday afternoon dealt a devastating blow.
Schwarber avoided any fractures in his collision with teammate Dexter Fowler during Thursday's game against the Diamondbacks, but an MRI Friday revealed full tears of his ACL and LCL in his left knee. Schwarber will miss the rest of the 2016 season.
It was a terrible development after the Cubs and the 23-year-old got good news when an X-ray taken after Thursday's game came back negative. Schwarber was even able to stand on the leg after the collision but was carted off the field.
Schwarber was also diagnosed with a severely sprained left ankle as a result of the play. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the collision, which resulted in an inside-the-park home run for Jean Segura, had "bad things written all over it."
After learning of the diagnosis Friday, Schwarber's teammates agreed.
"It's the third game of the season," Kris Bryant said. "For that to happen is terrible luck."
If there's a silver lining, it's that the Cubs are among the best-equipped clubs to deal with the loss of an impact bat. With Schwarber out, Jorge Soler, who batted .262/.324/.399 while starting 93 games in the outfield last season, will slide into the starting lineup. The Cubs promoted reserve infielder Munenori Kawasaki to take Schwarber's roster spot, suggesting they are content with their options in the outfield in Schwarber's wake.
The regular season is off and running, so be sure to keep refreshing Rotoworld's constantly-updating player news page for all the latest. And while you're at it, follow @Rotoworld_BB and @nate_grimm if you are on Twitter.
DeGrom Departs Early
An otherwise good day had an asterisk attached to it for Jacob deGrom on Friday.
The right-hander dealt over six innings in a victory over the Phillies, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out six. But he left after throwing just 76 pitches due to lat stiffness, and while nobody was sounding any alarms after the game, there was very little that could be definitively said before Saturday.
“I’m hoping it’s the elements,” said deGrom. “I’m not really that worried about it. I had a back issue early in spring, I don’t think this is anything related to it, but I’m not really worried about it.”
For whatever reason, one thing that was certain was a velocity dip for the 27-year-old. DeGrom, whose four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph last season per PITCHf/x, topped out at 93 mph and sat 91-92 mph for most of the game.
The next step for deGrom will be playing catch on Saturday. The big test will be his bullpen session in between starts, Mets manager Terry Collins said, at which time more will be known about deGrom's ability to make his next scheduled start.
“We’ll be careful with it,” Collins said. “If he can’t throw his bullpen in a couple days, we’ll have to find someone to throw in his spot.”
We'll stop writing about Trevor Story when he stops giving us reason to.
Story, the biggest story -- ahem -- of the first week of the baseball season, did it again Friday, hitting two home runs in a loss to the Padres. Story now has six home runs and 11 RBI through his first 19 plate appearances.
That's impressive for a reigning MVP, but it's historic when being done by a 23-year-old rookie. With Friday's fireworks, Story became the first player in major league history to hit home runs in each of his first four major league games.
"I'm just trying to have a clear mind up there and compete with my eyes," Story said. "I know there will be ups and downs. When I'm going good, this is what it is."
What he's doing is making the Rockies forget about Jose Reyes. Reyes, whose status is uncertain after Maui prosecutors dropped a domestic abuse charge against him last month, is on paid administrative leave, and with Story performing at the level he is, the club is certainly in no rush to get the 32-year-old back.
We'll see what Saturday brings for Story.
National League Quick Hits: Ross Stripling did not allow a hit in his major league debut Friday, but Chris Hatcher did. Stripling, throwing a no-hitter through 7 1/3 innings, was pulled by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after issuing his fourth walk on his 100th pitch of the game. Hatcher promptly served up a two-run homer that tied the score and ended Stripling et al's bid at history ... Ender Inciarte is day to day after leaving Friday's game with hamstring tightness. Lower-body injuries are never promising for speedy players such as Inciarte, but the injury sounds minor and Inciarte should be back in a matter of days ... Maikel Franco (elbow) sat out of Friday's game against the Mets. Franco was hit on the left elbow by a pitch Thursday but suffered only a contusion, so he should be back in the lineup Saturday or Sunday at the latest ... Zack Wheeler is set to undergo surgery to remove an undissolved stitch from last year's Tommy John surgery. The procedure, while minor, will set him back two weeks, making it less likely he'll be back by the July 1 target return date ... after the Padres were shut out over their first three games, the team broke out for 13 runs on Friday. Matt Kemp led the charge, going 4-for-6 with a home run and four RBI ... Starling Marte capped a Pirates rally with a go-ahead grand slam to down the Reds on Friday. Marte finished 3-for-4 with the slam, the first of his career ... the starters weren't getting the job done, so the Cardinals called on their bench to lead them to their first win Friday. The team got pinch-hit homers from Jeremy Hazelbaker, Aledmys Diaz and Greg Garcia en route to a win over the Braves ... Brandon Phillips, who had battled the flu in recent days, returned to the lineup Friday and appeared to be at full strength, homering and reaching base three times.
American League Quick Hits: Adam Jones (rib cage) sat out Friday but is expected to return sometime over the weekend. Jones said the injury felt much better Friday after missing Thursday's game as well ... Jarrod Dyson (oblique) could begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha as soon as Saturday. Dyson is first eligible to be activated from the DL on Sunday and could be back with the Royals by early next week ...Cameron Maybin (wrist) began a rehab assignment with High-A Lakeland on Thursday. Maybin can be activated from the disabled list on Saturday, and even if he's not immediately ready, the outfielder shouldn't be too far away from returning to the Tigers ... Josh Donaldson (calf) returned to the Blue Jays lineup Friday after a scare earlier in the week. He displayed his health by hitting a grand slam in the Jays' loss to the Red Sox ... Danny Salazar was effectively wild Friday, striking out seven while allowing one run over 5 1/3 innings in a win over the White Sox. It was a continuation of a strong spring as big things could be in store for Salazar this season ... making his Tigers debut, Jordan Zimmermann blanked the Yankees over seven innings to earn the win. Zimmermann allowed just two singles while walking three and striking out three in the dominant start ... the Rangers purchased the contract of A.J. Griffin, who started for them on Friday, and designated outfielder Justin Ruggiano for assignment in a related move ... fret no more, Miguel Cabrera owners: the first baseman hit his first home run of the year Friday. He's 5-for-13 in the early days of the season ... J.J. Hardy was out of the Orioles lineup Friday due to left calf tightness, but the team called the move precautionary.