Anthony Rizzo and Jorge Soler haven’t played together in The Show yet, and Cub fans might have to wait until next year before seeing them in the same lineup.
An MRI revealed a muscle strain in Rizzo’s lower back, the kind of injury that could have put him on the disabled list if the rosters didn’t expand in September. The All-Star first baseman has already been sidelined for a week.
“It’s kind of relieving the MRI showed something, so I’m not going crazy anymore,” Rizzo said Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are being protective and taking the long view with Rizzo, who’s guaranteed $41 million through 2019 and has club options for 2020 and 2021.
“It’s nothing chronic,” Theo Epstein said. “Nothing that will bother him long-term, but just something that we don’t want to rush back from.”
The president of baseball operations wouldn’t say if Rizzo would get shut down: “We’ll see where we are down the road.”
“If I am shut down, I’m shut down,” said Rizzo, who’s generated 30 homers, 71 RBI and an .889 OPS in a bounce-back season. “I’m not really worried about it – even if I am (shut down) – just because it’s a good opportunity for the guys here.
“My main concern is being full strength in the offseason and getting ready for next year. Obviously, I want to come back and play. It’s not fun sitting around watching. But it’s something where we all decided we’re not going to go crazy, rush to get back and have it reoccur over and over. We want this to be the first and last time this ever happens.”
Rizzo couldn’t pinpoint a particular play or swing, but he traced the discomfort back to the rain delay during a 3-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 26, the night before Soler made his big-league debut at Great American Ball Park.
“It’s funny,” Rizzo said. “I hit my 30th home run and then the rain delay comes and my back gets tight. It’s very weird. Who knows if it was before or after, but it just never got loose after the rain delay. It gradually kept grabbing on me more and more.”