SEATTLE – Ryan Sweeney had maximized the opportunity to play every day for the Cubs, hoping this would jumpstart his career and maybe secure his long-term future.
But Sweeney, who’s shown the ability to make highlight-reel catches, paid the price for crashing into Safeco Field’s outfield fence and will land on the disabled list. He will be sidelined at least four-to-six weeks with a fractured left rib.
“It’s frustrating,” Sweeney said Sunday. “It seems like it comes at the worst time for me.”
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Sweeney was hitting over .300 for the Boston Red Sox last season when he made a diving catch and suffered a concussion. This injury happened in the third inning of Saturday’s 5-3 victory when he banged into the center-field wall catching a ball driven by Seattle Mariners slugger Kendrys Morales.
“I play hard,” Sweeney said. “It’s not like I was out of control when I hit the wall. It’s just like a freak thing.”
Initial X-rays were negative, but a CT scan revealed the broken rib. Sweeney, who made regular trips to Seattle while playing four seasons with the Oakland A’s, pointed to the new wall at Safeco Field, saying “there was no give.” The Mariners moved the fences in for the 2013 season.
“It seriously felt like a brick wall when I hit it,” Sweeney said. “I just kind of grabbed my side because I felt it jolt a little bit. I feel like I’ve hit that wall before and it wasn’t that hard. It must have just hit me in the right spot.”
For now, the Cubs will go with Brian Bogusevic in center field. The next roster move from Triple-A Iowa will depend on the shape of the pitching staff heading into a three-game series that begins Tuesday in Oakland.
Former first-round pick Brett Jackson, who’s been on the disabled list with a calf strain, has not been viewed as a legitimate option. Catcher/infielder Steve Clevenger should be in the mix.
Sweeney was hitting .295 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 44 games with the Cubs after getting released by the Boston Red Sox and signing a minor-league deal.
“He became a fixture in our lineup,” manager Dale Sveum said. “It’s unfortunate for him, because he’s trying to get his career going and getting a chance to play every day. It stinks when those things happen (to guys) that are getting a chance and all of a sudden it’s taken away for a couple months.”
Sweeney’s 28 years old, a left-handed bat and a plus defender, which checks the boxes for Sveum.
“He’s been the whole package since he’s been here,” Sveum said. “You hope those kind of guys are always in your organization.”