SAN DIEGO (AP) – All-Star shortstop Javier BÃ¡ez could return to the Chicago Cubs if they reach the playoffs.
BÃ¡ez saw a hand specialist in Chicago who confirmed the slugger has a hairline fracture of his left thumb. He is expected to miss the rest of this month, but the team said Monday he will continue his rehab in hopes of playing in October.
The slumping Cubs headed into their series opener at San Diego in the NL’s second wild-card slot.
BÃ¡ez got hurt on a headfirst slide into second base during a 4-0 loss to Milwaukee on Sept. 1. He is batting .281 with 29 homers and 85 RBIs.
“We’re just going to have to wait on Javy,” manager Joe Maddon said.
With BÃ¡ez and Addison Russell sidelined, touted prospect Nico Hoerner was promoted from Double-A Tennessee and got the start against the Padres.
Russell was hit in the head by a pitch from Milwaukee’s Adrian Houser on Sunday. Maddon said the Cubs would know more about Russell’s condition after he is seen by a local doctor.
The 22-year-old Hoerner was selected in the first round of last year’s draft out of Stanford. He is the first member of the 2018 draft class to join a big league roster.
Hoerner hit .284 with three homers and 22 RBIs with Tennessee. He was limited to 70 games due to a broken left wrist.
He is the first Cubs prospect to make the jump from Double-A to the majors since Kyle Schwarber in 2015.
“The one thing that stands out about him is a lot of self-confidence,” Maddon said. “Not in a braggart way, just a self-confident young man. From the moment I met him, he gave me the impression that he thought he belongs here, which I love.
“He’s very comfortable in his own skin. I anticipate a good result. I know one thing, he’s going to play hard and he thinks things through very well. He’s one of those guys who has great makeup.”
Maddon also said third baseman Kris Bryant, who had a cortisone shot in his sore right knee on Sunday, might be able to play Tuesday night.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports