The Cubs announced that catcher Yan Gomes has been placed on the 10-day injured list due to a left oblique strain. Nico Hoerner will be taking Gomes’ spot on the active roster, as Hoerner has been activated from his own IL stint after being sidelined with a sprained right ankle.
Gomes’ absence leaves Chicago thin at catcher, as Willson Contreras has missed the team’s last four games with a strained right hamstring. The Cubs haven’t yet placed Contreras on the injured list, and he is available off the bench for tonight’s game against the Reds, though one would imagine the Cubs would love to get through the game without having to test Contreras’ health.
P.J. Higgins is in tonight’s starting lineup at catcher, and could end up getting an unexpected amount of playing time if Contreras does eventually need an IL visit, or if Gomes is absent for an extended amount of time. Gomes also missed time last year with an oblique injury, though it was a relatively mild strain that cost him just shy of three weeks.
After signing a two-year, $13MM free agent deal with the Cubs over the winter, Gomes has hit .247/.267/.384 in his first 75 plate appearances for the Wrigleyville club. Gomes’ role is somewhere between backup and platoon partner, as Gomes has gotten some extra looks behind the plate while Contreras has been used as a DH on partial rest days. The plan certainly seems to be working from Contreras’ perspective, as he has posted some strong hitting numbers early in the season.
Hoerner was playing as Chicago’s everyday shortstop due to Andrelton Simmons’ injury absence, but Hoerner had be sidelined after spraining his ankle in a collision with umpire Dan Iassogna. Fortunately, it was a relatively minor spain, and Hoerner will now return just a few days beyond the 10-day minimum. The Cubs have a pair of youngsters (Hoerner and Christopher Morel) and two veterans (Simmons, Jonathan Villar) in their middle infield mix, with Nick Madrigal on the injured list recovering from some lower back tightness.