Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart “may have nerve damage”

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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.

Video: Matt Carpenter makes history with three home runs, two doubles

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
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Matt Carpenter pulled his weight and then some during the Cardinals’ 18-5 win on Friday, becoming just the second player in MLB history to tally three home runs and two doubles in the same game… and the first-ever to do so in the first six innings of a single game.

Carpenter wasted little time getting the Cardinals on the board, first drawing a full count against Cubs lefty Jon Lester, then ricocheting a 92.4-MPH fastball off the scoreboard in right field for a leadoff home run. He returned in the second inning for another two-run shot and capped a seven-run spread in the fifth with an RBI double (his first double of the game was a leadoff hit in the fourth) before polishing off his performance with a third, three-run homer in the sixth.

Following Friday’s explosive five-run, seven-RBI performance, Carpenter is now batting .274/.381/.576 on the year with 23 home runs, 30 doubles and a .957 OPS in 388 PA. The last player to record five extra-base hits in one game was the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, who collected four runs and six RBI for the team back in June 2016. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch pointed out, Carpenter might have set another franchise record for most home runs in a game had interim manager Mike Shildt not removed him from the game in the bottom of the sixth. The record is still held by former club outfielder Mark Whiten, who collected four home runs (and a staggering 12 RBI) against the Reds in September 1993.