Should Cubs activate Pederson in time to face Dodgers on Monday?
The Cubs will have a tough call on a roster move in the next few days.
Outfielder Joc Pederson is eligible to come off the injured list Monday and as a nice coincidence, his former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, will be at Wrigley Field. Maybe a look at his old team is just what Pederson needs to snap out of his brutal hitting slump to start the season.
"He had some really good batting practices here (in Cincinnati)," manager David Ross said. "He is with the South Bend group taking live BPs (Sunday). I think the main thing is to listen to how he comes off this first live (batting practice) and then assess from there."
So the first question is whether Pederson is healthy enough from a wrist injury to be activated. If he is, then what would the Cubs do to open a roster spot?
When Pederson went on the injured list, the Cubs brought up Nico Hoerner from South Bend, and he may never leave the lineup again. Hoerner has hit .389 with 6 doubles in his first 11 games back with the Cubs.
The Cubs have been carrying an extra pitcher all season, which has been needed since the starting pitchers have not been sharp. Ross has relied on the bullpen to pitch heavy innings. That means having only four position players on the bench.
"We're played with a short bench all year, with four. That's an option," Ross said before the game. "There are guys daily that have bumps and bruises that you're trying to get through when you're short-handed. We're already really short right now and there's multiple guys that are grinding right now in areas. It's funny how each game things pop up that change."
Center fielder Ian Happ left Sunday's game after colliding with Hoerner in the outfield, but Ross thought Happ was doing OK after the game. The Cubs will know more on Monday.
Pederson, meanwhile, was scorching hot in the spring, but is batting just .137 in the regular season. The Cubs started April with a teamwide hitting slump, but at this point, most of their hitters have turned it around. After Sunday's action, Jason Heyward (. 193), David Bote (. 181) and Happ (. 167) were still below .200, although Happ went 3-for-5 with a home run Sunday.