Chicago Cubs’ Nico Hoerner winning camp with great play

Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs’ Nico Hoerner may not win a starting job at second base–but Jason Kipnis? He’s been impressed.

The Chicago Cubs’ Nico Hoerner and Jason Kipnis are ‘battling it out’ for second base. Kipnis has the inside track on it. And David Bote, Daniel Descalso and Ian Happ tossed their hats in on it. But Kipnis has good things to say about Hoerner.

With his improved defense, better power and attitude for Hoerner? Kipnis is in awe of the kid. And he’s the backup to Javier Baez at shortstop–so that’s a win/win for the kid. But forget Baez. Since 2016, he’s averaged 146 games at shortstop and second base. As he backups Kipnis, he got his vote of confidence.

"‘Listen, man, if I’m not in the game and you are, then you take this position and you run with it. One of us has to do the job at second base because, right now, people are looking at second base as kind of a weakness on this team, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I know both of us are more than capable of stepping in and making it a strong suit.’’ h/t Steve Greenberg, Chicago Sun-Times"

Second base? Well, let’s be honest. It was awful. Descalso was injured. Hoerner played ONE game. Robel Garcia, Ben Zobrist and an array of others were on there. Still, it was dreadful. Kipnis was brought in, and he has the upper hand on it. Still, David Ross thinks they’ll do some ‘tinkering’ with it.

"‘‘The good thing about this roster is there’s a lot of flexibility,’’ Ross said. ‘‘Guys can play all over. They’re used to doing it from the previous manager that was here.’’"

Notice how he didn’t mention Joe Maddon? Interesting.

The expanded rosters because of the pandemic are very much pitching–not hitting. So getting at-bats for Bote, Hoerner and the rest of the bunch? Ross calls it the “toughest part about this job so far.”

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I believe that Descalso will be released or on the taxi squad. So that would leave Happ (virtually, everywhere), and Bote (third base and second base). A 60-game season is manageable. But you remember Anthony Rizzo and his stiff back? A season mismanaged is a season when everything will be dismantled.

Let’s not get to that.