MILWAUKEE – The Cubs exhaled as they processed the information on C.J. Edwards, feeling like they avoided a worst-case scenario with the organization’s top pitching prospect.
Edwards got an MRI on Friday that revealed fatigue and inflammation, but also showed his right shoulder to be structurally sound. The Cubs plan to shut him down for at least two weeks before rebooting his throwing program.
“Tremendous sigh of relief,” manager Rick Renteria said at Miller Park. “We’ll give him a little break and he’ll get back on the horse, start throwing in a couple weeks.”
Edwards posted this reaction on his Twitter account: “Great news today rest then back at again #cubs#smokies#stilllivingmydream.”
But there are questions about Edwards’ long-term durability, whether or not his slender frame will be able to eventually handle 200 innings in the big leagues.
“A lot is talked about pitch counts (and) how you limit young men’s arms,” Renteria said. “As they say, there are only so many bullets in there. The hope is that, in the end, hopefully, he’ll be able to do something like that.”
Edwards is listed at 6-foot-2, 155 pounds in the media guide and has described his diet this way: “Anything I see, I eat.”
“He’s very athletic,” Renteria said. “He’s a lean, tall, leveraged-body pitcher. Hopefully, he’s able to maintain his strength and do what he’s capable of doing.”
Edwards became the centerpiece to last summer’s Matt Garza trade with the Texas Rangers, even though the three other players included in the deal – third baseman Mike Olt and relievers Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez – are already on the major-league roster.
Edwards, Baseball America’s No. 28 overall prospect, had started strong at Double-A Tennessee, going 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in four starts. He felt uncomfortable during his last side session and traveled to Chicago on Thursday to see Dr. Stephen Gryzlo.
“He’s obviously somebody we really like,” Renteria said. “This is just a little setback and he’ll be fine.”