Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has emerged from a medical check with lukewarm news on his injured ankle. An MRI revealed a moderate lateral sprain, the team told reporters including Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter).
Rizzo will not require surgery, which is promising. But he’s going to spend five to seven days in a walking boot, which seems to put a good bit of doubt on his ability to return to action before the end of the regular season.
A specific timeline isn’t known at this time; no doubt, more will be evident once the boot comes off. But it’s obvious the Cubs will go without the slugging first baseman for most or all of the stretch run, with his postseason availability also in question.
Unfortunately, Rizzo isn’t the only Cubs player to go down with an injury. The club is already missing Javier Baez and Addison Russel in the infield, which has forced youngster Nico Hoerner into earlier-than-anticipated action. Now, the team will need to dip into its depth further to fill in at first. Skipper Joe Maddon mentioned Victor Caratini, Ian Happ, and Jonathan Lucroy as possibilities (via Gonzales, on Twitter).
All that being said, the Cubbies remain in solid (though hardly certain) postseason position. They’re currently slotted into the second Wild Card slot, with the first WC position and the NL Central division still in play. While the Brewers are in hot pursuit, the rest of the pack has fallen four or more games back.