The Cubs have activated Kris Bryant and Steven Souza Jr. off the 10-day injured list amidst a flurry of roster moves this afternoon. To make room for Bryant, Souza, and their trade deadline acquisitions, the Cubs also placed right-hander Tyler Chatwood on the 10-day IL with a right forearm strain, optioned outfielder Albert Almora to their alternate training site, and designated righty Casey Sadler for assignment.
Bryant hasn’t played since August 17, as he suffered a sprained left ring finger (the official cause for his IL stint) and a wrist injury while trying to make a diving catch five days prior. This was the latest in rather a long list of minor health problems for Bryant this season, as he had also previously dealt with some stomach issues as well as back and elbow soreness. Given all of these problems, it probably isn’t surprising that Bryant hasn’t been himself at the plate, hitting only .177/.271/.323 over his first 70 plate appearances.
The Cubs are in first place in the NL Central even without much of a contribution from Bryant, and they’re also hoping to finally get some kind of extended look at Souza, as injuries (a right hamstring strain) and his part-timer status have limited him to just 24 PA this season. Injuries have plagued Souza throughout his career, most notably a major knee operation that sidelined him for the entire 2019 season. The right-handed hitting Souza and new acquisition Cameron Maybin are likely to get some playing time when a left-handed starter is on the mound, spelling the lefty-swinging Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward in the outfield.
Chatwood’s placement is retroactive to August 31, and he left his start on the previous day in the third inning due to elbow discomfort. While any forearm problem will be closely monitored, the Cubs do have some expectation that Chatwood will be back before the end of the season, though manager David Ross described Chatwood’s situation as “a long wait-and-see” in a chat with reporters (including Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune) today. The righty has a 5.30 ERA over five starts and 18 2/3 innings for Chicago this season.
Sadler appeared in 10 games for the Cubs in 2020, posting a 5.79 ERA and almost matching his walk total (8) with his strikeout total (9) over 9 1/3 innings of work. The 30-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Dodgers over the winter, and hasn’t been able to replicate in Chicago what he achieved over 46 1/3 innings with Los Angeles and Tampa Bay in 2019 — a 2.14 ERA, 6.0 K/9, and only a 2.5 BB/9, though advanced metrics were less impressed by Sadler’s overall performance.