As if Ian Stewart’s Cubs career wasn’t off to a bad enough start thanks to a .201 batting average through 55 games now the third baseman acquired from the Rockies in December is on the disabled list with a sore left wrist.
Stewart dealt with similar wrist problems last year and was a late scratch from yesterday’s lineup, with Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reporting that he’ll be examined by a specialist and “may have nerve damage.”
That would obviously knock him out for an extended period, but in the meantime the Cubs called up journeyman Luis Valbuena from Triple-A and have him starting at third base this afternoon. Valbuena failed to produce for the Mariners and Indians in past years, but he’s still just 26 years old and has hit .304 with solid on-base skills and a little pop in 279 career games at Triple-A.
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.