Cubs Spring Training Update: Promising news on Ian Happ, Nick Madrigal injuries

Two key pieces for Craig Counsell's ballclub continue to progress in their recovery from injury.

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Injuries are part of spring training each year but, without fail, fans wind up on the edge of their seats when such news breaks. On Wednesday night, Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Caleb Kilian departed with the trainer after suffering 'shoulder discomfort' that manager Craig Counsell called 'concerning' but some of the other latest Cubs injury updates are decidedly more positive.

Ian Happ, who is recovering from a left hamstring strain, has progressed to on-field batting practice down in Arizona. Now, on-field BP is a far cry from game-ready, but paired with the fact he's been seen looking pretty agile playing catch recently, perhaps there's at least some hope that he'll be ready for Opening Day.

Cubs have been relatively fortunate as far as early spring injuries go

Last season, Happ was somewhat quietly one of the Cubs' most valuable players, winning his second consecutive Gold Glove in left field while putting up a 112 OPS+ and improving his OPS by 10 points over the year prior. The power wasn't as prevalent as many had hoped, but he still finished the year with 35 doubles, leading all Cubs hitters.

Cubs infielder Nick Madrigal is in 'good shape' as he works his way back from a right hamstring injury, according to Counsell, with the team seemingly taking things slow given his injury history. He'll play a key role for the team this year, hopefully recapturing the bat-to-ball skills that once made him a first-round pick out of Oregon State.

Madrigal outpaced expectations defensively at third base in 2023 and will probably see time at multiple infield spots this year as a bench piece for Counsell. Christopher Morel figures to be the leading candidate to start at third come Opening Day, meaning last year's tandem of Madrigal and Patrick Wisdom will have to carve out playing time on a more situational basis.