How Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki is progressing after landing on IL

It became clear when outfielder Seiya Suzuki hit off a pitching machine Monday that the Cubs couldn’t delay their decision any longer. He had to go on the 10-day injured list.

“I can hit, but I feel like I’m not in a condition to play for nine innings,” Suzuki said Tuesday through interpreter Toy Matsushita. “… When I go out there, I want to be at 100% and just be at my very best.”

The Cubs backdated the move to Friday, the day after Suzuki sprained his left ring finger in Cincinnati while stealing second base.

Cubs manager David Ross said Suzuki kept lobbying for “another day,” to test his finger in the hopes of returning. But teams can only backdate a move three days, and the Cubs still have a Saturday doubleheader coming up in a packed week.

Suzuki becomes eligible to come off the IL on June 6, but he wouldn’t commit either way when asked if he was confident it could be a minimum IL stint.

“It’s quite different every day in terms of the condition on my finger,” he said, adding that as of Tuesday, he feels discomfort both hitting and catching the ball.

To keep his arm in shape, Suzuki has been playing long toss with his trainer Satoshi Kajiyama. But the past couple days, Matsushita has been catching the return throws for him – “worse than a child playing baseball” Suzuki joked of Matsushita’s glove skills.

The Cubs at least have outfield depth after calling up Nelson Vel?zquez on Monday. Over the weekend, the Cubs also activated Clint Frazier off the 10-day (appendicitis), and he started in right field on Tuesday.

With the infield no longer short-handed and Jason Heyward still on the IL, utility player Christopher Morel has been playing primarily center field. Heyward – who has no injury designation, indicating a COVID-19 related IL stint – joined the team in Chicago this past weekend but the Cubs say he’s still ramping up baseball activities.

Madrigal reinstated

The Cubs reinstated second baseman Nick Madrigal off the 10-day IL, which he’d been on for three weeks with a low back strain.

“I feel like physically, mentally, I’m ready to get back on the field,” Madrigal said. “It’s tough sitting in the dugout for a couple weeks watching the guys not being able to be out there. So, I’m anxious to get back on the field and get it going again.”

In a two-game rehab assignment, Madrigal only got seven at-bats with Iowa over two rehab games, recording one hit.

“I’m not reinventing anything for me as a baseball player,” Madrigal said. “I’m confident in who I am, but there’s definitely been time to reflect and watch video.”

He noticed how “stagnant” and “stiff” he looked in the batter’s box. Madrigal, who last season was hitting .305 before sustaining a season-ending hamstring injury, has started this season hitting .203.

As he tries to regain his rhythm, expect to see Madrigal moving a little more before the pitch, a little bit of hip sway.

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