Cubs Notes: Suzuki, Madrigal, Vertigo, Stroman

The Cubs have a number of players on the injured list who are close to returning. The closest thing to returning is the rookie outfielder Seiya Suzukiwho could rejoin the club as early as tomorrow, according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (via twitter). Suzuki was the man of the hour in April as his major league career took off, collapsing .279/.405/.529 in 84 plate appearances in March and April. May was less kind to Suzuki as he hit .211/.279/.338 in 79 plate appearances before ending up on the injury list with a right finger sprain. Suzuki has been out for almost six weeks now.

The Cubs are zooming out and taking stock of what kind of talent they have available this season, with Suzuki believed to be a part of the long-term outfield picture alongside the rookie Christopher Morel and Veterans Jan Happ, although Morel and Happ both have enough versatility to wiggle around the diamond a bit. Another part of this long-term positional player picture is the second baseman Nick Madrigalwho plans to do live batting practice on Tuesday, Remarks Bastian. Madrigal missed three weeks with a back problem and returned to the lineup for just under two weeks before ending up back on the shelf with a groin strain that kept him out of action for another three weeks.

This season should be a time for madrigal to establish itself Nico Horner as the middle infield of the future in Chicago. Madrigal didn’t hit much, with just 45 wRC+ from 115 record appearances. However, he didn’t have much luck with the ball (0.264 BABIP). He hit a little harder than usual — though with a 14.3 percent strikeout rate, he still put the ball on the field far more often than the average major league player. It’s a small sample size to judge Madrigal by, and the Cubs would love for him to return soon to start taking ABs back David Bote and Andrelton Simmons.

First Base Player Frank swindlewill be joining Madrigal for some batting practice on Tuesday as he is looking to return after a few weeks of lower back strain. Swindel’s long-term role with the Cubs is less obvious now that he’s 30, but he also likely won’t be eligible for arbitration until the 2025 season. Dizziness could make an interesting trading figure, but he’ll have to do better on his return. Frank the Tank currently only owns one 83 wRC+ a year. As a right-handed first baseman/designated hitter, Vertigo needs to hit to generate a lot of value, whether on the diamonds or in a trade.

On the other side of the ball, the Cubs have a pair of starting pitchers Markus Stroman and Drew Smyly who’s doing rehab starts this week. Smyly begins his rehab Monday with a start in single-A, while Stroman is close to returning to Wrigley and serving in triple-A for the Iowa Cubs. All of the Cubs’ veterans brought into the rotation have struggled to stay healthy this season, with Stroman and Smyly making nine starts each so far Wade Miley only took the hill four times.