ST. LOUIS – The Cubs reinstated infielder David Bote from the 60-day IL on Friday, after a winding road back to health. He rejoined the Cubs lineup for the first time since late September.
“I’m just excited to be playing again,” Bote said before the Cubs opened a three-game series against the Cardinals on Friday. “I mean, I got goosebumps coming out here again.”
In a corresponding move, the Cubs designated veteran infielder Jonathan Villar for assignment. Villar started the season with a hot bat, but by Friday, his batting average had dropped to .222. He’d committed eight errors, tied with Patrick Wisdom for the most on the team, in about two-thirds as many games.
“Just opportunity for David really,” Cubs manager David Ross said of the decision to DFA Villar. “Just giving a guy that’s gonna be here an opportunity to get back. He’s worked really hard and you’ve got to create a spot somewhere.”
Bote (left shoulder surgery) was expected to come back early this month, but an ailment that the team described as bouts of dizziness delayed him. Bote revealed Friday that he’d been dealing with the issue for a couple years.
“Then it came to a head a couple weeks ago,” he said. “Got some stuff checked out, we’re managing it a little bit better, still trying to figure out what the exact cause of the thing is. But the doctors and the staff, everybody’s been super helpful.”
He said he lost 20 pounds, compared to his playing weight last year, and couldn’t keep weight on. He felt dizzy and nauseous. It got so bad that at one point he stayed in bed for 48 hours straight.
Though Bote said he still doesn’t have clarity on a diagnosis, he’s confident they’ll be able to manage the issue going forward.
Bote returned to his rehab assignment a week ago and went 11-for-22 in six games.
“I know it gave him an opportunity to revamp his swing,” Ross said. “… And he’s done a nice job of putting in the work, coming back, and been swinging the bat really well down there as of late.”
Bote originally dislocated his left shoulder in May of last year. He returned in late July and had barely been back for a month when he sprained his ankle stepping on a ball during batting practice, which landed him on the IL for another 10 days. Late in the season, he re-injured his left shoulder while swinging in the on-deck circle and opted for offseason surgery.
Cubs bullpen coach Chris Young didn’t get any clear answers on why, during first inning of the Cubs’ game against the Pirates on Thursday he suddenly felt hot, lightheaded and broke out in hives. He said he never collapsed or lost consciousness.
“All day long I felt great,” Young said Friday. “In about 60 seconds later, I knew I needed some help.”
Young alerted assistant coach Jonathan Mota of his condition, and Mota called down to the dugout for assistance.
Young said all tests at the Allegheny General Hospital came back “great.” But they also didn’t believe his symptoms came from dehydration or heat stroke. He was out of the hospital by the 10th inning and resumed his full responsibilities on Friday.