Back Problems Send Cubs Infielder To IL

When the Chicago Cubs completed a rare crosstown trade with the Chicago White Sox last season, they envisioned receiving their second baseman of the future, a highly-regarded former 1st-round pick with elite contact skills, and a lock to hit .300 in the big leagues (after hitting .317 in his two partial season stints on the South Side).

But Nick Madrigal has not worked out at Wrigley Field quite as expected, and now he's heading to the injured list with lower back tightness. 

The 25-year-old has been mired in a brutal slump over the first month of the season, hitting just .203 with a .491 OPS and just 5 runs scored and two RBIs over 23 games. 

It's hoped that this time away from the field, in addition to getting his back right, will help him mentally re-group, and get back to the stroke that made him worthy of dealing Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel at last year's trade deadline. 

Madrigal came to the Cubs from the ChiSox already on the injured list, shelved for the season after surgery to repair a torn hamstring suffered last June. He just never got it going this season. 

30-year-old Ildemaro Vargas gets the call for now to replace Madrigal. Vargas is a versatile infielder, who can help defensively, if not with the bat. He's likely just keeping a spot warm until free agent signee Andrelton Simmons is ready to make his season debut. The Gold Glove shortstop is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A, recovering from shoulder inflammation that's kept him out all season.

Photo Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports