Ian Stewart Headed To The Disabled List


June 7, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart (2) during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago Cubs starting third baseman Ian Stewart has struggled for most of the season. Though, Stewart has shown more of a power display this season than his previous season with the Colorado Rockies. The issue is that Stewart has struggled to get his batting average over the .200 mark for most of the season.

In 56 games this season, Stewart is hitting .201/.292/.335/.627 to go along with 5 home runs and 17 RBIs. Stewart was brought in to be one of the few run producers in the Cubs’ lineup, but so far he has been anything but.

In a times that Stewart would string a few productive games offensively together he often would be restricted by his nagging left wrist injury. An injury that has plagued Stewart since the 2011 season. The wrist injury has caused Stewart to miss a game or two from time to time.

This time, Stewart’s wrist injury will force the third baseman to miss more than a game or two. Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum said after Wednesday’s loss to the Detroit Tigers that Stewart will be placed on the 15 day disabled list. Stewart was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday.

This would seemingly be a golden opportunity for Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer to give a chance to one of the Cubs top prospects. Granted third baseman Josh Vitters does not fit the Epstein mold of players, the Cubs’ 2007 first round pick will likely be given a chance to prove to Epstein that he should be a piece to the Cubs’ long-term future.

Vitters has come a long way since being drafted by the Cubs in 2007, and 2012 marked the the third baseman’s debut for the Iowa Cubs, the Cubs triple A affiliate. Vitters is doing his part with the Iowa Cubs. The third baseman is hitting .269/.317/.450/.767 with the I-Cubs this season to go along with 9 home runs and 35 RBIs. Vitters only has 15 walks on the season and that number coupled with an on base percentage of .317 is the likely reason why Vitters may not be considered as a long-term asset in the Cubs’ rebuilding process.

One of the goals for the 2012 season was to see what the Cubs have in their farm system. A part of that process is seeing what the various prospects do when they are ready for the Major Leagues. For defensive reasons, it is believed that Vitters is not Major League ready. But with Ian Stewart’s continued struggles in 2012 to go along with his re-occuring wrist injury should be enough to put Vitters’ name into consideration for a potential promotion to the Major League level this season.

However, I would not hold breath in your hopes of Vitters being promoted to the Major League level to replace the injured Stewart. In addition to announcing Stewart’s DL trip, Sveum also indicated that Vitters wasn’t being considered to be called up from the Iowa Cubs.

Instead, that honor will likely go to Luis Valbuena. The Cubs claimed Valbuena from the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the start of the 2012 season. In fact, Valbuena was a part of the Cubs’ opening day roster. Valbuena is not on the Cubs’ 4o man roster, meaning the Cubs will have to make a roster move if Valbuena is in fact going to be called up from Iowa. Valbuena has been the starting second baseman for the Iowa Cubs this season, though interesting enough, Valbuena started at third base on Wednesday for the Iowa Cubs. In 58 games this season, Valbuena is hitting .303/.378/.507/.885 to go along with 8 home runs and 31 RBIs.