Cubs will have to keep waiting on Seiya Suzuki’s return

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

As if watching the Cubs serve as cannon fodder for the Yankees all weekend wasn’t enough of a kick in the teeth, instead of Seiya Suzuki making his return to the diamond from a finger injury, the outfielder was shut down for another five days as he waits for continued swelling to subside.

Cubs president of baseball operations told the media on Saturday it would be ‘a while’ before we see Suzuki back in action, so that five-day shutdown is really just an initial timeline before the club will re-evaluate his status.

"“Candidly, I’m OK with that because this year it’s really important for him to assimilate, to face big-league pitching and figure out what he needs to do going forward in his career,” Hoyer told the Chicago Tribune. “And coming back and and sort of having this nagging injury and not really be able to do it well, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. He needs to come back when he can really compete at this level, and it’s hard to do that when you have a finger swelling up all the time.”"

Suzuki started his big league career on a torrid pace, winning National League Rookie of the Month honors in April after batting .279/.405/.529. From there, though, he cooled dramatically, as the league adjusted its plan of attack against him. His May OPS plummeted by more than 300 points over the month prior, but we never got to see Suzuki try and counter because of the finger injury.

It’s hardly been the rookie campaign we were all hoping for after that hot start, but there’s still time for Suzuki to take critical steps in his development in 2022. He’s been sidelined since May 26 – and if looks like he could very well end up missing close to a month or more before it’s all said and done.

Cubs won’t risk Seiya Suzuki’s long-term potential in a lost campaign

But that still leaves three months of baseball – and, like Hoyer said, it’s more important that Suzuki is at 100 percent. Too many times in recent years, we’ve watched guys try and play through nagging injuries. It rarely, if ever, ends well for anyone involved. The player underperforms, fans get frustrated – it’s all bad.

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For now, it’s more of the waiting game. That’s hardly good news for a Cubs offense that’s been totally incapable of coming up with timely knocks – but risking Suzuki’s long-term value makes no sense in a season that’s already lost in mid-June.