Hoerner, Arrieta welcomed back vs. Tigers

Bryant starts series opener after illness, HBP

May 14th, 2021

It was easy to begin considering worst-case scenarios when and were on the ground in the Great American Ball Park outfield earlier this month. The Cubs are beginning to turn the page on that disconcerting moment.

Prior to Friday's game in Detroit, the Cubs activated Hoerner from the 10-day injured list, following a left forearm injury sustained during his May 2 collision with Happ in Cincinnati. Happ may also have a return from the IL in the near future.

"I feel 100 percent," Hoerner said in a Zoom discussion on Friday. "It stinks to miss time, but all things considered, Happer and I are both healthy and ready to play baseball. So, it's good."

Cubs manager David Ross slotted Hoerner into the eighth spot of Friday's lineup and gave him the start at second base. Right-hander (also activated from the 10-day IL after a bout with a cut on his right thumb) was back as the night's starter for Chicago.

Ross noted that Happ, who is on the 10-day IL with a rib contusion, was going to go through outfield drills, baserunning and batting practice on Friday. The manager sounded optimistic about the center fielder's chances of returning soon.

"Ian's going to be run through the gamut of everything today, and then we'll kind of assess after that," Ross said. "Hopefully, he's getting really close."

The timing of Hoerner's trip to the shelf came after he helped spark the offense with a .389 (14-for-36) showing in his first 11 games back from the Minors. In that stretch of games, Hoerner churned out six doubles, stole three bases and had more walks (eight) than strikeouts (seven).

"It's going to sound cliché, but just go pitch by pitch," Hoerner said of trying to pick up where he left off in the batter's box. "It's easy to kind of come back and want to make up for lost time or things like that. It's just staying the course, knowing it's still May."

Bryant returns to lineup
returned to the Cubs' order on Friday after dealing with illness on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bryant made a pinch-hitting cameo in the seventh inning on Wednesday, but he was hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Cleveland's Cal Quantrill and exited the game.

Ross noted that the plan was to pull Bryant from the game at that juncture no matter what, given that he was playing while under the weather. The manager said Bryant reported no issues Friday and opted not to have any imaging done on his wrist.

"We had something set up for him, and he said he was fine," Ross said. "So, he declined. All was good. He didn't need to have anything done."

Other news and notes
• Entering Friday, veteran outfielder (dropped to the No. 9 spot against the Tigers) was batting .171/.246/.315 this season. Heyward was swinging at a career-high 34.7 percent of pitches outside the zone (compared to a career-low 21.7 percent rate in 2020).

"I think J-Hey is at a point where he's a little bit maybe chasing some hits," Ross said. "In the 60-game season, he probably had our most consistent at-bats among the group. Right now, I think he's just getting a little bit outside of what he does well. And I've talked to him about that."

• Besides Arrieta and Hoerner, the Cubs also activated right-hander from the 10-day IL. The setup man was shelved on May 4 due to a right triceps issue.

• To clear room on the active roster for Arrieta, Hoerner and Winkler, the Cubs optioned righty Jason Adam, outfielder Nick Martini and lefty Brad Wieck to Triple-A Iowa.

"Very impressive. It speaks to character also, just the willingness to do that. It's not just any other guy moving around spot to spot, obviously. I don't remember a bunch of MVPs playing four or five different spots."
-- Hoerner, on Bryant playing five positions this season