As Spring Training gets going, Cubs deal with injuries in addition to shortened camp

MESA, Ariz. (CBS) — The Cubs and White Sox are in Arizona preparing for a delayed April 7 opening day – but that date might not work for everyone because of injuries.

As CBS 2’s Matt Zahn reported, there was a good news-bad news injury update for the Cubs Monday. The good news is that outfielder Ian Happ should be ready for Opening Day despite having surgery on his throwing elbow last month.

But starting pitcher Adbert Alzolay will start the season on the injured list, and it likely won’t be a short stint according to president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer.

Hoyer is working on bolstering the roster with free agency opening the same time as camp.

«This is kind of a crazy transaction period we’ve never had before, and doing that while guys are reporting; while camp is starting, is certainly strange,» Hoyer said. «We obviously have a number of holes to address. Our biggest focus, candidly, has been – and we’ve said this over and over – is on pitching and pitching depth. Everyone knows the value of innings early in the season is going to be real.»

With the shortened camp, pitchers won’t have as long to ramp up. Pitcher Kyle Hendricks says they learned some seasons from 2020, when COVID led to a truncated camp then as well.

«I think going through 2020 might help a lot in this process, you know – hopefully there won’t be as many,» Hendricks said. «I think guys learned a lot from that year, and like I said, I think teams are really stressing that yeah, it’s going to be a sprint, but we all know this is unique. So take your time, make sure you’re right, don’t overdo it.»

Hendricks started opening day of that 2020 season with a complete game. He said he wasn’t sure he could promise that again this year, but he does feel like he’s in a good spot right now. 

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