The Cubs activated Nico Hoerner off the 10-day injured list prior to today’s 3-2 loss to the Reds, with infielder Sergio Alcantara optioned to Triple-A in the corresponding move. Hoerner has been out of action since May 26 due to a left hamstring strain, and that was after already missing time earlier in May with a left forearm strain. Since Hoerner wasn’t called up from the alternate training site until April 22, today marked only the 22nd game of the season for the former top prospect.
Hoerner only showed flashes of his promise during the 2019-20 seasons, but was off to a strong start this year, hitting .338/.405/.432 in his first 84 plate appearances of the 2021 campaign. The Cubs are desperate for any sort of reinforcements, as a nine-game losing streak has sent them spiraling down the NL Central standings and down to an even 42-42 record.
More on some notable names returning to action today…
- Andrew Benintendi was activated off the Royals’ 10-day IL prior to the team’s 6-2 loss to the Twins. A right rib fracture sent Benintendi to the IL on June 14, and the relatively quick return is a particularly good sign considering that rib injuries essentially ruined the outfielder’s 2020 season. Benintendi had done a good job of bouncing back from that down year, hitting .283/.340/.429 with eight home runs over 241 plate appearances. The Royals optioned Edward Olivares to Triple-A to make room for Benintendi’s activation.
- In between games of their doubleheader with the Yankees, the Mets activated infielder Jonathan Villar off the 10-day IL, with outfielder Albert Almora Jr. going down to Triple-A. Villar had a retroactive placement of June 22 with a right calf strain, so he’ll miss only slightly beyond the 10-day minimum. Amidst multiple injuries within the Mets’ infield this season, Villar has ended up being a major contributor, hitting .246/.333/.410 with six homers in 208 PA while seeing the bulk of action as New York’s starting third baseman.
- Blake Snell tossed four shutout innings in the Padres’ 11-1 rout of the Phillies today, as Snell was activated off the injured list in time for the start. Snell was technically placed on the COVID-related IL while battling a case of food poisoning, which is why he was able to be activated today despite landing on the injured list on June 30. (Snell tested negative for COVID-19.) While Snell has a 4.99 ERA for the season, he has now tossed nine scoreless innings over his last two outings, hinting at a potential turnaround for the lefty’s first season in San Diego. Right-hander Mason Thompson was optioned to Triple-A to create roster space for Snell.