That bad back Felix Hernandez suffered is not responding well, so he’s gonna have to miss his next start, reports Geoff Baker. That means Hector Noesi will start Wednesday’s game on short rest.
Eric Wedge doesn’t sound overly concerned:
“Felix is feeling better, but no sense in pushing it right now. I know he feels like he can pitch at any point in time, but we’re going to make sure that we’re careful with this. We’ve got the off-day on Thursday, so we’ll see how he feels again tomorrow and decide where we’re going to go from there.”
Hernandez is 4-4 with a 3.42 ERA on the season and has struck out 81 dudes in 81 and two-thirds innings while walking 26.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.