MILWAUKEE – Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo had the most appropriate reaction when he heard that teammate and shortstop Javy Báez might miss the rest of the regular season with a hairline fracture of his left thumb.
“Oof,” Rizzo said.
Báez had an MRI performed Saturday morning, and it revealed the hairline fracture. He will see a hand specialist Monday to determine how long he will be out. The regular season ends Sept. 29.
“It’s no fun,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I figured something was up. He wants to play. He comes out to the ballpark wanting to play. He swings [the bat] a little bit, and it’s hurting. So you know he’s not going to mess around. I was always concerned something like this may be the result.”
Báez jammed his thumb sliding into second base Sept. 1 against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. He exited that game early and has not played since. An X-ray taken Sunday turned up no fracture, but the thumb continued to bother Báez.
With the Cubs fighting for the National League Central title and also a wild-card spot, losing Báez for the rest of the season could be a huge blow.
The two-time all-star has a batting line of .281/.316/532 with 29 home runs and 82 RBIs. Even more important, Báez is a spark plug for the Cubs both on offense and with his play in the field.
For the rest of the regular season, Addison Russell will move into the everyday shortstop role. Russell was the Cubs’ shortstop during their world-championship season of 2016. He began this season serving a suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s policy on domestic violence. He also was demoted to Triple-A Iowa during the season.