Cubs: Tough blows keep coming with Nico Hoerner’s freak injury

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

Not a lot is going right for the Chicago Cubs right now and the latest blow for the struggling ball club comes in the form of an injury to shortstop Nico Hoerner, who sprained his ankle after colliding with an umpire during Wednesday’s win over the Padres.

Hoerner, who has emerged as one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball early on, colliding with the second base umpire in shallow right-center field when attempting to get in position for a relay throw after Jurickson Profar rocketed a triple over the head of Jason Heyward in center.

The former Stanford standout remained in the game initially, but was then pulled for Idelmaro Vargas – who went on to have a rough night of his own on both sides of the ball. David Ross painted a somewhat optimistic picture of the injury, saying Hoerner would be out ‘a couple days’ – but until swelling subsides, it’s impossible to make a full diagnosis.

Should Hoerner hit the IL, he’d join a quickly-growing list of Cubs teammates on the sidelines, including Marcus Stroman, David Robertson, Sean Newcomb, Michael Hermosillo and Seiya Suzuki, the latter of whom hasn’t officially been added to the IL, but is battling an ankle issue all the same.

On that list, the other name that jumps out in this situation is obviously Madrigal. He and Hoerner were supposed to be the team’s double play combo – but with both injured, David Ross is going to have to get creative this weekend in Arizona, relying on guys like Jonathan Villar and Vargas instead.

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Both come with significant defensive questions – and at a time where the Cubs are desperately trying to keep their already distant postseason hopes alive – there’s just no margin for error.