The Cubs Wednesday announced Anthony Rizzo had an MRI Tuesday that showed inflammation on his left side that is causing his back spasms.
Manager David Ross said he and Rizzo are planning on the veteran first baseman being ready for the start of the season.
The team also announced “roughly” six unnamed players would miss Wednesday’s scrimmage while awaiting COVID-19 test results. Among the players called up from the South Bend camp to fill in were Robel Garcia and Miguel Amaya.
Ross said the club would not rush to make any decisions about Rizzo, who was diagnosed with rib head inflammation in the thoracic area on the MRI. But Rizzo didn’t sound like he’ll be overly cautious with his back, especially with the abbreviated schedule this year, and he wants nothing to do with the injured list.
“For me personally I’m going to be pushing to get back as fast as I can and take the risk because the reward of being with the guys and playing alongside of them is worth it for me,” Rizzo said.
Rizzo planned to track pitches in the bullpen to keep his hitting eye ready when his back pain eases.
“When he is healthy, that’s going to be the main thing,” Ross said. “He looked really good defensively before this thing popped up. I don’t worry about his defense. Just to continue to see live pitching is going to be important.”
Kris Bryant and Victor Caratini will continue to back up Rizzo at first base, with Caratini as the first choice.
Meanwhile, Ross remains optimistic Major League Baseball will work out what Rizzo called “hiccups” in the coronavirus testing system so players don’t have to miss time.
Players have to sit out because of some sort of “red flag” in the test, the lab didn’t get to it yet, a problem in the test or the worst-case scenario, a possible positive result, Ross said.
ust don’t expect Ross to point any fingers.
“This is not easy,” Ross said. “I think I’ve said that a million times. It’s not easy on the players. It’s not easy on Major League Baseball. I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault when things are delayed.”
This isn’t the first time some Cubs players had to miss a workout while awaiting coronavirus test results.
Delays in the testing cause “a level of fire drill some mornings where we’re just making adjustments,” said Ross, who missed Monday’s workout for the same reason.
Finally, Ross also said he’s not ready to name an Opening Day starter yet, but that it could come soon.