CINCINNATI – The Cubs are getting a big boost back in their lineup as they activated second baseman Nico Hoerner from the 10-day injured list before Sunday’s series finale against the Reds. Hoerner was in the starting lineup, playing second base and hitting sixth.
“It won’t exactly feel like a normal game,” Hoerner said. [Some] games do feel different. That’s real. I’m excited. I’m ready to go out there.”
Hoerner’s presence has been missed as he missed 35 games while recovering from a left hamstring strain he sustained on May 26. The Cubs’ second baseman was starting to put together a breakout season and was slashing .338/.405/.432 slash line with seven doubles in 21 games.
“When you can’t control what’s happening on the field, it’s a little harder to just kind of make sense of,” Hoerner said. “Because you like to be able to go back to things that you could have been different yourself or things you can learn from. AlI I could really do to help the team was get healthy and I feel really happy with that process.”
“The training staff is really great and they’ve had a tough year just like all teams in baseball, really just dealing with things out of their control. I really appreciate them in this process.”
It’s been a revolving door at second base since Hoerner went down and the Cubs have had very little production from the position. Ian Happ has even had to slide to second in an effort to get the Cubs more offense.
“I think it’ll help,” manager David Ross said Saturday. “We’ve got to do a lot of things better offensively than we’ve been doing, but I think Nico is definitely a high caliber player we’ll be welcoming back. We’re probably on the early side. Making sure he’s all the way healthy. Just make sure, He’ll play some and mix in some off days before the All-Star break.
“It’s an exciting player to have back. I think he was a big part of our offense when we were going good and hope he can come back and kind of fit right in and to continue to contribute like he was before he got hurt.”
The Cubs optioned infielder Sergio Alcantara to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Hoerner on the active roster. Alcantara slashed .179/.282/.403 with three doubles, three triple and two home runs.