Feb. 24, 2013; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro (13) catches the ball to tag San Francisco Giants left fielder Francisco Peguero (14) out while stealing second base during the fourth inning at Hohokam Park. The Cubs won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs' Injuries To Hinder Early Season Progress?

The sight was more horrifying than any other potential scenario to Cubs fans watching Wednesday’s spring training match against the Dodgers:

Starlin Castro limped off the field accompanied by training staff taking precaution towards his left leg.

Time literally stood still. The fall of Matt Garza to a lat injury was already a significant blow to the Cubs, but to lose their all-star shortstop all in the same month would be agony.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case as Castro was sidelined with what is being called “tightness” in his hamstring. This is a far cry from the potential catastrophic scenario that could have been.

It begs the question: with all these scares and close calls with injury from the Cubs’ spring training campaign, how vulnerable are they to medical set backs? Could an injury spell death for the Cubs’ season before it even starts?

While any injury to a star player on any team is a hindrance, the Cubs are especially immune to set backs of this nature.

Many parameters have to be observed in this process, of course. The season may not have begun yet, but it’s safe to assume the odds of the Cubs making the playoffs in 2013 are slim. Forgive me for being pessimistic. This means that the Cubs have a little bit of experimental room, much like a college freshman. Bad similes aside, it presents an opportunity for some young players to get some playing time much to the detriment of their win loss record. With every college experiment comes it’s weight in shame and vomit after all.

There’s value in exposing some young players to regular playing time after all.

This theory applies especially well to the rotation which is currently a bit of a crap shoot on its own. The AAA Iowa Cubs have an absolute log jam of potential arms in their ranks and the vast majority could make the transition to “big league filler” almost instantly. Sure, they’d probably get absolutely shelled and have their egos eternally broken in a fiery hell-storm of homeruns and extra base hits, but the theory still applies.

In short, it means that the off season bolstering of the Cubs’ farm system acts as insurance for the big league squad.

Why even address the situation to begin with? While it sucks to think about the negatives for the team, it’s emerging that Matt Garza’s injury may be setting him back more than what was previously anticipated. Dale Sveum has stated that he wants Garza back by opening week while Garza has set his eyes on the disabled list.

Ouch. Ugly stuff.

Thankfully, Starlin Castro isn’t phased by his leg issues. He remains confident that he can play 162 games again in 2013:

I don’t want to be hurt, man. I feel too good this year. I don’t know what happened, because I worked too much in the Dominican, running a lot. (I felt) tight, but hopefully it will be good.

Smart move Mr. Castro. There’s a young man by the name of Javier Baez who is going to be contending for your job very soon.

Regardless of circumstance, injuries aren’t good. They never will be.

Let’s just be thankful that bad luck is striking now, as opposed to the next few years when the Cubs are actual contenders.


Tags: Chicago Cubs Matt Garza Starlin Castro

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