Cubs place Hoerner on IL, call up Ortega
As expected, the Cubs placed second baseman Nico Hoerner on the injured list with a left hamstring strain.
Hoerner is the Cubs' leader in batting average at .338. He tried to reach on a bunt single in the sixth inning of Tuesday's win at Pittsburgh and appeared to take an awkward step after he crossed the base. He went to the ground grabbing at his hamstring and needed help leaving the field.
"Mild to moderate strain, all the technical terms are eluding me right now," manager David Ross said before Wednesday's game. "I think if we had context, (Jake) Marisnick, (Justin) Steele would be in kind of that same category.
Hoerner is the fourth Cubs player to join the injured list with a hamstring issue, joining Marisnick, Steele and Jason Heyward. Marisnick has been out the longest and he last played on May 9.
The Cubs brought up outfielder Rafael Ortega from Triple A Iowa. Meanwhile, pitcher Shelby Miller was activated from 10-day injured list and designated for assignment.
It originally looked like the Cubs might bring up shortstop Sergio Alcantara from Iowa, especially when he was pulled from Tuesday night's Triple A game after Hoerner's injury. Ross talked about the decision.
"Just personnel, to be honest with you," he said. "With the flexibility of KB (Kris Bryant) and being able to grab the best player down there that we felt like could give us the best at-bats and has experience. I think Raffy stood out as I talked to the different guys down there and the front office, who could give us the best at-bat and felt like he was swinging the bat pretty well."
Ortega, 30, is a left-handed bat who has logged 143 games in the majors for four different teams. He made his major league debut in 2012 with Colorado and last played in 2019 with Atlanta. He was hitting .250 with 4 home runs at Iowa this season.
"I remember Ortega hit lefties very well for us (in spring training), outside of the characteristic of his numbers historically," Ross said. "He had some really good at-bats and played some really good defense."
The former Iowa Cubs are starting to pile up, as the Cubs now have Ortega, Patrick Wisdom, P.J. Higgins and Nick Martini on the active roster.