Cubs infielder Javier Báez received some bad news on Saturday: he’s been diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his left thumb, and it’s not certain when he might be cleared to play again this season. He’s expected to consult with the club’s hand specialist on Monday, at which point they’ll have a better idea of how long his recovery might take.
Báez, 26, sustained the injury during a stolen base attempt in the third inning of the Cubs’ 4-0 loss to the Brewers last Sunday. He appeared to feel some initial pain, but was not removed from the game until the seventh inning. Per MLB.com’s Andrew Simon, Báez continued to feel some discomfort in his left hand when he swung the bat on Thursday and Friday, and was eventually sent for an MRI that revealed the fracture in his thumb.
Should he wind up on the injured list — which seems like all but an inevitability at this point — it’ll be his first IL stint of the season and just the second of his major-league career to date. Through Sunday’s performance, the two-time All-Star is batting .281/.316/.532 with 29 home runs, an .848 OPS, and 4.3 fWAR through 560 plate appearances. He’ll continue to be replaced by fellow middle infielder Addison Russell until his return to the lineup.