The next steps for Eloy Jimenez after Cubs shut down top prospect

The next steps for Eloy Jimenez after Cubs shut down top prospect

MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs spun it as a positive for elite prospect Eloy Jimenez, the MRI and CT scan revealing a bone bruise and no structural damage to his right shoulder. 

"All in all, we feel like it's pretty good news," general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday at the Sloan Park complex. "We'll get this right and get him back out there."

The Cubs plan to shut down Jimenez for three weeks and then restart a throwing program, which will probably leave him in extended spring training. Once medically cleared and operating at game speed, advanced Class-A Myrtle Beach would be a logical landing spot for Jimenez, who's only 20 years old and a consensus top-15 prospect in the industry. 

Jimenez hadn't played since a March 14 Cactus League game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Mesa. Hoyer pointed to the awkward throw that Jimenez made from left field – the ball wound up in the seats behind the third-base dugout – as "sort of the straw that broke the camel's back."

"Changing his mechanics a little bit is something we'll probably work on," Hoyer said, "just making sure in the future he doesn't do that. He had been a little bit sore before. That sort of pushed things over the edge."

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Hoyer laughed when a reporter asked a follow-up question using manager Joe Maddon's comparisons: Do you think Jimenez is more like Miguel Cabrera or Edgar Martinez?

"I try not to attach many players to prospects," Hoyer said. "It never seems like it works out that well in the future when you guys remind us of these comments.

"But I love his balance. For a big guy like that at such a young age, his recognition's really good. And with a lot of guys with that kind of power, I feel like there's some wild swinging that goes on. With him, it doesn't seem like it's ever wild swinging.

"It's very in control, which is very much like his personality. When you talk to him, he's very measured. He's calm in the box. I think that really helps him."

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.

With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.

Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.

“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”

Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.

[MORE: Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player?

Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.

“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.

“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”

Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

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Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

The Cubs take on the Los Angeles Dodgers today, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Ryan Dempster. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (3-2, 3.19 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.01 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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