Watch Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki blast a home run in batting practice
By Jake Misener
When Seiya Suzuki suffered an oblique injury early in spring training, Cubs fans feared the worst. After all, these types of injuries have proven to be problematic for players in the past and can sometimes take months to fully recover from.
Thankfully, at least to this point, it appears as if Suzuki and the Cubs avoided a worst-case scenario. Instead, it seems like things are moving along far faster than anticipated, with the outfielder progressing to full-strength batting practice on Saturday in Arizona. Better yet, he ended his session on a high note: with a long home run to left-center field.
In that clip from MLB.com Cubs beat writer Jordan Bastian, you get a good look at the final swings - culminating in a wall-clearing shot. That seems to be a pretty good indicator he's feeling 100 percent (or very close to it) - which immediately makes you start to wonder when he'll be game-ready.
Chicago opens the 2023 regular season in less than a week, on March 30 at Wrigley Field against the division rival Brewers. Personally, I still think the Cubs will proceed with some caution here, especially with the team heading north to colder weather, where injuries and tightness can flare up.
A 15-day IL stint to open the season might not be the worst idea in the world. That lets Suzuki settle in, finish his rehab and have no limitations when he comes off the injured list, which would come ahead of the Cubs' west coast swing for six games against the Dodgers and Athletics.
A healthy, productive Suzuki is key for a Cubs team looking to surprise some folks in 2023. Last year, he put together a respectable rookie campaign, with 2.0 bWAR and a 116 OPS+ in 111 games. That being said, it was a very up-and-down season for him and establishing more consistency will be key for him moving forward. Seeing him making strides in his recovery from his oblique strain is certainly an encouraging sign.