CHICAGO -- Cubs first-round Draft pick Nico Hoerner felt something in his left elbow after diving for a ball while playing for Class A South Bend, but the shortstop stayed in the game and later hit a home run. That was his last Minor League game of the season, however,
CHICAGO -- Cubs first-round Draft pick Nico Hoerner felt something in his left elbow after diving for a ball while playing for Class A South Bend, but the shortstop stayed in the game and later hit a home run. That was his last Minor League game of the season, however, as Hoerner has been shut down because of an injury to ligaments in his elbow.
The 24th player selected in the 2018 Draft, Hoerner, 21, came to Chicago to be examined by the Cubs' medical staff.
"The Draft process takes a while and you're in Arizona and you want to play," he said. "I finally got playing in South Bend and it's a great group there and I played four games and unfortunately I got hurt in the fourth one."
The former Stanford star moved up quickly in the Cubs organization, starting with the Arizona Rookie League team before playing seven games with short-season Eugene, where he hit .318. He was 6-for-15 at South Bend.
Hoerner flew to Chicago from the Quad Cities to be examined and hadn't included a stop at Wrigley Field in his plans but was able to watch batting practice on Thursday. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo called Hoerner into the group before they stretched and separated the first-round picks from the rest of the roster. That first-round group included Javier Baez (2011), Addison Russell ('12), Albert Almora Jr. ('12), Kristopher Bryant ('13), Kyle Schwarber ('14) and Ian Happ ('15), and they talked about how quickly they moved up and gave him some advice.
"I never will be a home run hitter," Hoerner said. "Home runs are something that will happen as I learn to use my body and learn the pitchers. That's what all the guys were telling me. All of them didn't hit for power in the Minor Leagues and now they're clearing the bleachers."
That was the message Hoerner got from hitting coach Chili Davis. The Bay Area native grew up an A's fan and remembers Davis from his time as Oakland's hitting coach.
"He talked about just learning to hit and the power coming," Hoerner said. "We're in an age of baseball that talks so much about swing mechanics and he talked about competing with the pitcher. That's refreshing to hear."
Hoerner won't be able to do any baseball activities for four to six weeks. The Cubs have yet to decide whether he could play in the Arizona Fall League.
"It's not ideal, but it could be worse," he said.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.