We’ve all been dying to see the unflappable Ian Stewart return from wrist surgery as a competent hitter. Unfortunately, he injured his quad in the first spring game and has been sitting out ever since. However, he may return to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs next weekend! Yes, you heard it right. He might be back in another week.
Manager Dale Sveum said Sunday morning he doesn’t think Stewart will be back until next weekend at the earliest, after projecting a midweek return a few days ago.
“It seems to be getting pushed back every day,” Sveum observed.
“I don’t think there’s any other way to look at it,” Stewart said. “I feel like I’m the third baseman here until they get rid of me. I feel like if I’m healthy and ready to go, I’ll be playing third every day.”
But what about his non-guaranteed contract and the fact that the Cubs only have to pay 25% of it if they drop him by March 31?
“I have absolutely no concern about that at all,” Stewart said. “Whatever concern there is, I’m not aware of that as far as if the coaching staff is talking about it, they have not brought that up to me. Therefore, I am not concerned about it.”
“I know Dale has talked about cramming to get ready for the season, and that’s understandable because the goal is to be on the team, be there Opening Day,” Stewart said. “But I think the ultimate goal is to be healthy for as much of the season as I can be. And whether that’s being there on Opening Day playing and not being 100 percent and just trying to do it, or taking our time just a little bit, making sure I’m 100 percent healthy so I can be there for the long haul without risk of re-injuring it.”
I think Mr. Stewart is lucky it won’t only be Dale Sveum making decisions about the roster.
In other news, David DeJesus successfully defended his title in the bunting tournament.
David DeJesus successfully defended the Cubs bunt tournament championship on Sunday, beating upstart Nate Halm, a video staffer who advanced from the front office bracket. Halm, of Mahomet, Ill., who played baseball at Miami of Ohio and also in Germany for a semi pro team, was a late entry in the tournament, subbing for the team masseuse, Vyascheslav Kodryan, who couldn’t compete because the event was held on a Saturday, which was his day off.
DeJesus must be elated at winning something.
“He put the pressure on,” DeJesus said of Halm, who led after three rounds of the five-round final. “He was definitely a good bunter. I just wanted to roll on my ball, make sure I was loose, keep the muscles nice and fresh, and I was able to win by 10.”
Good deal, David. You’re the best bunter on the worst offense in the National League in spring training so far.
The Cubs entered Sunday as the worst-hitting (.247), worst-at-getting-on-base (.307) and third-lowest-scoring (4.5-run average) team in the National League this spring.
Is Dale Sveum worried about the offense once the team heads north?
“It’s not going to be a prolific offense,’’ he said, “but it’s going to be an offense that’ll keep the line moving a little better than they did last year.”
And despite what he has seen in camp, there’s still another three weeks from Monday until the season opens.
“I’ll be more concerned when I’m putting my regular eight guys out there,” he said, “and [wait until] Rizzo’s here and Castro’s here before I start worrying about that.”
They still won’t be very good.