Cubs infield prospect Nico Hoerner has been diagnosed with a hairline wrist fracture, Mark Gonzales the Chicago Tribune was among those to cover (Twitter links). Hoerner had already been sidelined after being hit by a pitch nearly a month ago; with the new diagnosis, he is expected to miss at least one more month of action.
In other health updates of more immediate concern for the MLB roster, relievers Pedro Strop and Brandon Morrow are progressing in their rehab efforts. The former has thrown his first pen session since he hit the injured list with a hamstring injury. The latter has (again) begun a throwing program once again. He’s still trying to work back from a string of elbow ailments.
Though the Cubs would no doubt put a priority on getting those veteran relievers back in action, the absence of Hoerner does come with possible MLB implications. While there isn’t a clear need at the moment in the infield, he’s a near-term option for the organization.
Hoerner would also be of interest to other clubs in trade talks this summer. The 22-year-old cracked top-100 prospect lists to open the season and is seen by most as the organization’s best prospect. He further improved his stock before the injury, posting a .300/.391/.500 slash over 69 plate appearances at the Double-A level.
As for Strop and Morrow, the former is obviously ahead of the latter but still seems to be a ways off from a return to the MLB pen. The Cubs will need to continue to handle Morrow with the utmost care given the repeat setbacks he has experienced (to say nothing of his lengthy injury history).
The team has managed to fill in the gaps well enough with its groundball-heavy group of relievers. And there are other hurlers with late-inning experience on hand. Still, it’d be nice to have Strop and Morrow back in action. They are arguably the top two relief options on the roster when it’s at full strength.