The Cubs will evaluate shortstop Javier Baez by week’s end to see when he’ll be able to start rehab activity, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets. The club has been without Baez for just about all of September because of a hairline fracture in his left thumb, and it’s likely the injury will prevent the star from suiting up again in the regular season as Chicago tries to at least earn a wild-card berth. The Baez-less Cubs have been turning to recently recalled youngster Nico Hoerner at short, and fortunately for them, he has begun his career in outstanding fashion. Thanks in part to Hoerner’s contributions, the Cubs are 6-2 dating back to his Sept. 9 debut.
More injury updates from around the National League…
- Diamondbacks right-hander Luke Weaver may be a “couple days” from returning to a major league mound, per Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. Weaver threw a successful bullpen session Tuesday as he works back from forearm and ulnar collateral ligament issues that have shelved him since late May. The offseason acquisition, who joined the D-backs via their Paul Goldschmidt trade with the Cardinals, had been amid a stellar campaign before landing on the shelf. Weaver owns a 3.03 ERA/3.11 FIP with 9.82 K/9 and 2.02 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings on the season. While Arizona’s playoff hopes have faded this year, the hope is Weaver and fellow young righty Zac Gallen will be among those to help drive the team back into contention in 2020.
- Brewers righty reliever Corey Knebel is “continuing to make progress” in his recovery from the Tommy John procedure he underwent in March, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays. Knebel expects to return to throwing from a mound when spring training rolls around, per Haudricourt. It’s all the more impressive on the Brewers’ part that they’re in the thick of the wild-card hunt without having received anything from Knebel, who was one of their best bullpen options from 2017-18.
- Rockies southpaw Kyle Freeland is nearing a late-season return, according to Nick Groke of The Athletic. A strained groin has kept Freeland from taking a big league mound since Aug. 20, but he’ll be able to make two more starts (albeit at just two to three innings per appearance) this year, Groke notes. Freeland will attempt to end his surprisingly dismal season on a high note when he suits up again. One of the NL’s premier pitchers just a year ago, Freeland has been just the opposite in 2019. The 26-year-old has logged a 6.98 ERA/6.13 FIP across 99 1/3 frames, and his struggles led the Rockies to demote him to the minors earlier in the season.