Chicago Cubs’ catcher Miguel Montero is nearing a return from the DL after dealing with lower back stiffness. Eligible to come off on Tuesday, the team may still decide to send him on a rehab assignment.
The Chicago Cubs may be getting their starting catcher back soon as Miguel Montero took batting practice and ran the bases on Monday. While Montero hasn’t missed a lot of time, the play of David Ross and Tim Federowicz would allow him a few games to get his swing back before returning to the Cubs lineup. Montero was only hitting .208 with one home run before heading to the DL, but he offers more offensively behind the plate.
The Cubs haven’t missed a beat with Montero out, and the loss of Matt Szczur may be affecting them more than Montero. David Ross is batting .222 with two home runs and eight runs knocked in while Federowicz has performed as expected behind the plate since being called up to fill in for Montero.
While his All-Star days may be behind him, Montero is a solid signal caller who offers solid 15 home run power potential at the bottom of the lineup. But Ross and his defense have been just what the Cubs have needed in place of missing offense at the bottom of the order. His Runs Above Replacement sits at 4.9, his highest since 2013 with the Red Sox. His WAR sits at just 0.5, but his defense is what’s giving him value.
But the Cubs offense continues to fire on all cylinders no matter who is in the lineup. I’d say the Cubs have done it without the benefit of the eight and nine spot hitters, but I’m not going to take anything aways from the Cubs’ pitchers.
As far as when Montero should come back? I’d say this is a case of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. Give him a few games to get his swing back against live pitching and bring him back for the weekend series. Or at the bare minimum, let him get one rehab start tomorrow and possibly make a change prior to Wednesday’s doubleheader. It seems cut and dry that Federowicz will be the man optioned back, but you never can be too sure with the Cubs so we’ll just wait and see.