Thanks to the intrepid Carrie Muskat, we know that Matt Garza and Scott Baker are getting back into game shape, though both are likely to start the 2013 season on the disabled list. Starlin Castro is also out nursing his hamstring, but is expected to come back sooner, possibly within a few days.
#Cubs Castro hit in cage Sat, will do that again today. Says if this was reg season he could play
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 3, 2013
Then we have poor Ian Stewart. Stewart did take part in the bunt tourney, but did not advance to the Sweet 16.
3B Ian Stewart still sidelined with strained left quad but will take part in #Cubs bunt tourney. With a win, could make sweet 16
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 27, 2013
He hurt his quadriceps muscle making the turn around first on his way to a double in the intrasquad game (of all the luck) and has been out since. The prognosis back then was 2-3 weeks, but now:
Ian Stewart: Still no timetable for on field return from hamstring injury.
— Bruce Levine (@ESPNBruceLevine) March 3, 2013
Awesome. This basically means that if he can’t get back within the next few days, he’s got like a week’s worth of games to get enough at-bats to show he shouldn’t get cut before March 16, and if he survives that round, he still needs to produce against better pitching, albeit spring pitching, to avoid getting cut and losing out on the bulk of his salary before Opening Day.
This also means that we are staring at the possibility of a Luis Valbuena/Brent Lillibridge platoon at third base. I don’t need to tell you, dear Cubs fan, of the black hole of suck that has stood at third base since Aramis Ramirez left town. I don’t care how well Valbuena has looked in winter and spring so far. This is bad.
If Stewart is cut, that also means another infielder needs to be brought up (maybe) to back up the corner infield spots or at least first base. The most likely names to serve as primary benchwarmer are Brian Bogusevic and Brad Nelson. Yay.
So yeah, I don’t think Ian Stewart is the messiah or anything, but if you want there to be better options at 3B to start the season, best hope that he can get back in time and that he doesn’t suck or hurt himself sneezing if he does get to play.