Cubs News: Jed Hoyer's comments put Seiya Suzuki's Opening Day in doubt

Nov 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer  answers
Nov 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer answers / Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

The latest comments from Cubs manager David Ross and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer seem to all but guarantee a late start to the 2023 regular season for outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

Suzuki, who's been sidelined by what's been labeled a moderate oblique strain, reported to camp noticeably bigger than he was during his rookie campaign, having added 20+ pounds of muscle in the offseason. Of course, that added muscle always carries the potential of injury and that seems to be the case here.

Of course, we'd all love Suzuki to be in the Cubs starting lineup four weeks from Thursday on Opening Day when the division rival Brewers visit Wrigley - but having him as a regular presence over the course of the year is paramount. That's the point Ross drove home this week talking to reporters; a big-picture view rather than a short-term focus.

"The goal for us is when he’s back we don’t lose him again. Pushing it toward some date that we all look forward to doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. We want him to get back completely healthy. If that’s Opening Day, great. If it’s five days in, great, if it’s two weeks in, fine. "

David Ross, via Chicago Tribune

In the meantime, Trey Mancini seems to be the likely guy to take over in right. The veteran has experience there, along with his work as a first baseman and DH. Last year, between Baltimore and Houston, he turned in a 101 OPS+ and .710 OPS - earning the first World Series ring of his career with the Astros.

Cubs need a healthy, productive Seiya Suzuki to contend

Ross has also specifically mentioned Patrick Wisdom as a right field option with Suzuki sidelined, but he's battling an injury of his own - a lingering left groin issue that's kept him out of the lineup all week. Chicago has been calling the handling of the ailment 'precautionary', but it's worth keeping an eye on. There are other options in the mix, to be sure, and that will add another layer of internal competition over the next few weeks of Cactus League action.

Next. 5 Cubs players that look odd in different uniforms . dark

A healthy, productive Suzuki will be a key component in the Cubs' 2023 season - especially if they want to surprise some folks and make a run at a postseason spot. Getting him right now, regardless of the timetable, has to be the top priority because an ineffective Suzuki playing through an injury all year long isn't helpful for anyone involved.