Ian Stewart’s Wrist Issues To Last All Season
When the Chicago Cubs acquired third baseman Ian Stewart in a trade that sent DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin to the Colorado Rockies, there was concern among Cubs’ fans after looking at Stewart’s production in 2011. Stewart hit .156/.243/.221 with no home runs in 136 plate appearances with the Rockies last season. But the Cubs’ front office was quick to dispel Stewart’s 2011 statistics as they contributed his lack of power production to a wrist injury that plagued Stewart throughout last season. But with the wrist injury now a part of the past, Stewart should be in line for the Major League comeback player of the year award. right?
Wrong. Reason being the wrist injury that we thought was behind Stewart, is still bothering the Cubs’ third baseman. Prior to this week, Stewart has missed a few cactus league games with a sore wrist. Stewart returned to the lineup this week, but the third baseman also admitted something that should be a cause for concern. While talking with reporters, Stewart admitted that his wrist injury will likely be with him throughout the 2012 season.
"“It stinks to say, but I’ve kind of got to the point where I have some nagging stuff that’s probably going to linger for a while with my wrist,” Stewart said. “That’s why I always have heat or ice on my wrist. That’s just a thing that’s going to be there.” ESPN Chicago"
This is concerning. The reason the Cubs were able to trade for Stewart is because the Colorado Rockies made him available. The reason the Rockies made him available was because Stewart was on the verge of being replaced at the third base position in Colorado. The reason Stewart was on the verge of being replaced was because the third baseman hit below .2oo with no home runs in 2011 while with the Rockies. The reason Stewart failed to show any kind of power in 2011 was because of the wrist injury that he suffered in the early portion of the 2011 season. The same wrist injury that continues to restrict Stewart at certain times from being able to play in a game.
So with Stewart’s wrist playing a factor on his performance throughout the upcoming season, it would seem likely that Jeff Baker, Joe Mather, and/or Blake DeWitt will be in line to receive more playing time. But there is also another scenario that should not go overlooked.
Third base prospect Josh Vitters is going to start the season with the Iowa Cubs. Vitters has shown progress in each of his past two seasons, and the only faset of his game that the Cubs are waiting on is his defense. If Vitters is able to show that he can handle the third base position while producing offensively, the Cubs’ 2007 top draft pick may be with the Chicago Cubs sooner rather than later. If Vitters gets off to a hot start with the I-Cubs and Stewart struggles in part because of the wrist injury, then Cubs’ fans may finally be able to take witness to one of the most talked about prospects in the Cubs’ farm system since he was drafted in 2007.