Injuries & Moves: Hoerner, Madrigal progressing

12:05 AM UTC

Keep track of the Cubs' recent transactions and injury updates throughout the season.

LATEST NEWS

May 22: C P.J. Higgins selected from Triple-A Iowa; IF Ildemaro Vargas designated for assignment
With Willson Contreras day to day due to a right hamstring injury, the Cubs called up Higgins, who hit .417 with eight doubles, one home run and 17 RBIs in 22 games for Iowa this season. The 29-year-old made his Major League debut last season with the Cubs, going 1-for-23 before a right forearm strain ended his year. Vargas was hitting .130 (3-for-23) in 2022. -- Joey Pollizze

INJURY UPDATES

Day to day

DH/C (right hamstring strain)
Expected return: TBD
After Contreras left Saturday's game vs. the D-backs with a right hamstring strain, the Cubs weren't too concerned about the injury and believe he is moving in the right direction. Contreras is still considered day to day, but the Cubs are pleased with how the catcher is progressing. As expected, Contreras remained out of the lineup for the team’s first two games of the series against the Reds. Manager David Ross, along with the training staff, remain confident the catcher will avoid being placed on the IL. -- Will Aldrich (Last updated: May 24)

10-day and 15-day IL

SS (right ankle sprain)
Expected return: Late May or June
Hoerner completed all baseball activities (fielding, throwing, hitting and running) in a May 24 workout. The infielder will be evaluated once again on May 25.

“He’s progressed really fast; he’s probably at 80 percent,” manager David Ross said. “Our training staff did a really nice job getting that swelling out of there and getting him back to where he needs to be. We’re getting closer to [100 percent] every single day.”

Hoerner’s injury occurred when he crashed into second-base umpire Dan Iassogna in a fluke incident during the first inning of a 7-5 win over the Padres on May 11 and exited in the second inning. -- Will Aldrich (Last updated: May 24)

2B Nick Madrigal (lower back tightness)
Expected return:
Late May/early June
Madrigal also completed all baseball activities (fielding, throwing, hitting and running) in a workout on May 24. So far, the second baseman has been progressing well from the back issue that landed him on the IL on May 10.

“He’s gotten better daily,” manager David Ross said. “We’ll continue to monitor him and see when that rehab assignment might be coming up.”

It has been a tough opening act for the second baseman in his first tour with the Cubs, as he's hit .203/.250/.241 through 23 games. -- Jordan Bastian/Will Aldrich (Last updated: May 24)

RHP Michael Rucker (turf toe)
Expected return: TBD
Rucker was placed on the 15-day IL (retroactive to May 17) prior to the Cubs' game on May 19 due to what the team described as a "left turf toe" issue. On May 24, a Cubs representative said Rucker is progressing with his throwing program. Through eight appearances this season, Rucker has logged a 4.20 ERA with 15 strikeouts and five walks in 15 innings. -- Will Aldrich (Last updated: May 24)

OF Clint Frazier (appendicitis)
Expected return:
Late May or June
Following an off-day on May 23, Frazier was back in the lineup for Triple-A Iowa on May 24. The outfielder went 3-for-17 with two doubles, one walk and one RBI for Iowa from May 17-22. Frazier is working his way back from an appendectomy that he underwent on April 22. He last played for the Cubs on April 19, before landing on the 10-day IL the next day. -- Will Aldrich (Last updated: May 24)

LHP Sean Newcomb (left ankle sprain)
Expected return:
Late May
Newcomb is set to make a rehab start at Triple-A Iowa on May 24. The pitcher sustained a left ankle sprain while in the outfield during batting practice on May 8 and was placed on the IL on May 10. He has an 8.10 ERA in three appearances since the Cubs acquired him for right-hander Jesse Chavez on April 21. Newcomb last pitched on May 7 against the Dodgers. -- Jordan Bastian/Will Aldrich (Last updated: May 23)

RHP Alec Mills (lower back strain)
Expected return: June 6 at the earliest
Mills is scheduled to start for Triple-A Iowa on May 22. The right-hander threw a bullpen session on May 19 after facing hitters in live batting practice on May 17. While rehabbing from a lower back strain, Mills experienced right quad tightness on April 26, stalling plans for his next start. He logged 62 pitches over three innings in a rehab outing for Triple-A Iowa on April 23. -- Joey Pollizze (Last updated: May 22)

OF Michael Hermosillo (left quadriceps strain)
Expected return: Late May
Hermosillo was transferred to the IL (no designation) from the 10-day IL on May 18. That opened a 40-man roster spot for the activation of righty David Robertson (previously on the IL due to COVID-19). Hermosillo is 2-for-28 in 17 games this season and has a .170 batting average in 89 career Major League games. He has started nine games in center field for the Cubs in 2022. -- Jordan Bastian (Last updated: May 18)

OF Jason Heyward (undisclosed issue)
Expected return: May
The Cubs placed Heyward on the IL (no designation) on March 17, but manager David Ross said, "hopefully he'll be back really soon." Ross noted that Heyward was dealing with some body aches and dehydration issues, but no other details were provided by the Cubs. The veteran Heyward has hit .208 with a .551 OPS in 27 games as the Cubs' center fielder this season. -- Jordan Bastian (Last updated: May 17)

RHP Ethan Roberts (right shoulder inflammation)
Expected return:
TBD
Roberts did some light throwing on May 14 and "felt great," per the Cubs. The Cubs placed Roberts on the IL due to a right shoulder issue on May 1 (retroactive to April 30). In his most recent appearance out of the bullpen, the righty averaged 91.4 mph on his cut fastball, which was down 2 mph from his previous outing. Through nine games, the rookie reliever has an 8.22 ERA with nine strikeouts and six walks in 7 2/3 innings in his first taste of the big leagues. -- Jordan Bastian (Last updated: May 15)

60-day IL

INF (left shoulder surgery)
Expected return: TBD
Bote went 2-for-11 with one walk and one double over four rehab games for Triple-A Iowa from May 19-22. Following an off-day, Bote continued his rehab assignment on May 24 at Triple-A, and he was expected to play third base for a full nine innings. Bote underwent a shoulder procedure in October and the Cubs initially estimated a rehab period of at least six months. He was placed on the 60-day injured list on March 19 and said then that the two-month stay on the shelf should cover the time required for rehab and games buildup. -- Will Aldrich (Last updated: May 24)

OF Codi Heuer (right elbow surgery)
Expected return:
2023
Heuer was with the Cubs during their homestand against the Pirates and D-backs, checking in with the team medical staff and having a chance to break up the monotony of rehabbing in Arizona. The righty underwent Tommy John surgery (Heuer noted it was a full reconstruction with an internal brace) on March 7, hopes to be back off a mound in September and is optimistic that a return to games could fall in the 14-16 month range post-surgery.

Heuer was one of the players acquired from the White Sox before last year's Trade Deadline in the deal that sent closer Craig Kimbrel to the South Side. In 65 games last year, Heuer had a 4.28 overall ERA, including a 3.14 ERA in 25 appearances down the stretch for the Cubs. His fastball velocity did drop to 95.9 mph on average in '21, compared to 97.6 mph in '20, per Statcast. Heuer believes the injury explains some of the issues he fought in '21.

"I think it was definitely something that was lingering," Heuer said on May 19. "The initial response of having this surgery was tough, but I did get a little closure that some of the stuff I was feeling, now I know why I was feeling it. Now I know that throughout this process, I can get back to feeling back to me, the 2020 me." -- Jordan Bastian (Last updated: May 19)

RHP Adbert Alzolay (right elbow tightness)
Expected return:
TBD
President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer noted at the start of Spring Training that Alzolay sustained a right lat/shoulder injury. The righty was hoping to compete for a rotation spot this spring, but will begin the season on the 60-day IL. Last season, Alzolay posted a 4.58 ERA with 128 strikeouts and 34 walks in 125 2/3 innings between 29 appearances (21 starts). -- Jordan Bastian (Last updated: March 18)

LHP Brad Wieck (left elbow strain)
Expected return:
TBD
The Cubs placed Wieck on the injured list on March 17 due to a left elbow strain, which flared during a bullpen session earlier in the week, according to the team. That is a blow to Chicago's bullpen, which hoped to have Wieck available as a possible setup option this season. Last year, Wieck had a 0.00 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 17 innings before a heart issue ended his season prematurely. -- Jordan Bastian (Last updated: March 17)