The Chicago Cubs’ All-Star shortstop is set to miss the rest of the regular season with a hairline thumb fracture, putting the North Siders’ division championship hopes in even more peril.
Javier Baez is not expected to return during the regular season, and his status if the Cubs make the playoffs is in question. The Puerto Rican infielder suffered a hairline fracture while sliding head-first into second base during last weekend’s series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs initially thought that their shortstop would only miss a few days with a jammed thumb, but after a Saturday MRI revealed that the damage was more extensive than expected, the team finds itself in a tough situation heading down the stretch.
Backup Addison Russell will be forced to replace Baez, who has hit .281 on the season with 29 home runs and 11 stolen bases, as the team looks to track down the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
The Cubs currently trail their eternal rivals by 4.5 games in the division and have a slim 1.5 game lead in the race for the second NL Wild Card slot.
With star closer Craig Kimbrel already on the shelf for the rest of the season, the Cubs will have to overcome some serious injury obstacles if they want to make the playoffs and make a run towards the World Series title.