Notes: Báez avoids IL; Rizzo at leadoff

April 28th, 2021

There was a chance that could have landed on the injured list prior to Wednesday's game against the Braves. After his pregame work in Atlanta, the Cubs opted against taking that route with their All-Star shortstop.

"He was moving well," manager David Ross said.

Báez had left hamstring tightness flare late in Sunday's game against the Brewers, and the shortstop has been held out of the starting lineup in the first three games of the current series against the Braves. For Wednesday, Báez was possibly available off the bench.

If Báez continues to trend in the right direction, Ross said the shortstop might be cleared to return to the lineup for Thursday's finale against the Braves. The shortstop went through a series of drills and tests as part of a full pregame workout on Wednesday.

"He'll take ground balls today, move around," Ross said. "We'll see how he feels [Thursday]. All signs are pointing good."

Through 20 games played, Báez has one of the more interesting statistical profiles in the Majors. The shortstop has six home runs, 17 RBIs, 12 runs and five stolen bases, while batting .234/.272/.494 with 35 strikeouts and just one walk.

Ross puts Rizzo atop order
With center fielder Ian Happ (.139 average and 54 wRC+ through 22 games) struggling, Ross opted to give first baseman Anthony Rizzo a day in the leadoff spot Wednesday night. Nico Hoerner was in the No. 1 slot over the previous two games.

"With Happer out and scuffling a little bit," Ross said, "I'm just trying to mix some things up at the top. Rizz has done a good job up there in the past. Just jump-start the offense a little bit."

Through 23 games, the Cubs' leadoff men were hitting .181/.333/.265 as a group.

Injury updates
• The Cubs noted Wednesday that veteran catcher Austin Romine, who was placed on the injured list with a sprained left wrist on Monday, will likely need "several weeks" before potentially resuming baseball activities.

"He's got a significant issue with the wrist," Ross said. "He's going to be out a little while."

• Outfielder Joc Pederson (10-day IL, left wrist) has resumed taking batting practice at the Cubs' alternate training site in South Bend, Ind., according to Ross.

• Third baseman Kris Bryant returned to Chicago's starting lineup on Wednesday, following a day off to rest a sore right biceps.

"I don't think any of us feel like we've hit our strides, so to speak. But I think it's still early to be talking about any kind of stride. I think, if anything, we all feel fortunate that we're not 10 games out of first place right now. That's a positive. And also, we all understand how quickly these things can change in two days, three days, with the way our division is." -- Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward