The Cubs placed outfielder Seiya Suzuki on the 10-day injured list due to a sprain in the ring finger on his left hand. As well, right-hander Robert Gsellman has been designated for assignment, and left-hander Brandon Hughes will join the Cubs after his contract was selected from Triple-A.
Suzuki’s placement is retroactive to May 27, as the outfielder hasn’t played since the injury forced to make an early exit from the Cubs’ 20-5 loss to the Reds on May 26. After a few days of monitoring Suzuki’s condition, there wasn’t enough improvement to avoid an IL trip, and Chicago’s busy schedule likely also played a factor. The Cubs have nine games within a seven-day span, including today’s doubleheader with the Brewers and another doubleheader Saturday against the Cardinals.
Signed to a big five-year, $85MM deal in the offseason, Suzuki’s first 163 PA in MLB have gone well overall, as his .245/.344/.432 slash line translates to a 116 wRC+ and 119 OPS+. However, it certainly seems like pitchers have gotten a book on Suzuki, as he had a whopping 1.090 OPS over his first 72 PA but only a .545 OPS in his last 91 trips to the dish. Suzuki’s paycheck and lengthy resume of success in Japan can obscure the fact that he is still a player seeing Major League pitching for the first time, so there are inevitable going to be some ups and downs as he adjusts.
The sprained finger adds another obstacle for Suzuki to overcome, though given that the team was still hopeful that he could return as early as today, he might not miss more than the minimum 10 days. Clint Frazier (just back from the IL himself) and rookie Nelson Velazquez will probably get the bulk of time in right field until Suzuki or Jason Heyward return from the injured list.
Gsellman signed a minors deal with the Cubs during the offseason, and posted a 5.02 ERA over 14 1/3 innings for Chicago since his contract was selected earlier this month. Never a big strikeout pitcher even his best years as a reliever and swingman with the Mets, Gsellman has only a 13.5% strikeout rate over 57 MLB innings since the start of the 2020 season.
Hughes rejoins the Cubs after making history in his Major League debut earlier this season, striking out the first five Pirates batters he faced on May 17. This made Hughes the first pitcher in modern (since 1901) baseball history to record at least five outs all by strikeouts in his first big league appearance. Overall, Hughes had a 2.57 ERA over seven innings and five appearances.