Chicago Cubs Notes: Hoerner, Mancini, Suzuki

Spring Training is a busy time, with lots of shifting around and adjustments for new players and injuries. 

Here are some noteworthy updates happening with the Chicago Cubs:

Nico Hoerner:

Chicago Cubs manager David Ross has announced that Nico Hoerner will be the team's primary leadoff hitter for the upcoming 2023 season. Hoerner, a 25-year-old middle infielder, has already led off in three regular season games and four Cactus League games, and it appears that he will continue to do so moving forward.

Hoerner had a breakout season in 2022, setting new career highs in games played, home runs, and stolen bases. He also boasts a strong track record of hitting with runners in scoring position, with a .330 batting average and .855 OPS in those situations throughout his career.

With Hoerner's combination of speed, power, and ability to get on base, he has the potential to be a valuable tablesetter for the Cubs in 2023 and beyond.

Seiya Suzuki:

Chicago Cubs' outfielder Seiya Suzuki is facing a potential setback as he has been diagnosed with a moderate left oblique strain, according to team president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer.

This type of injury typically requires around four-to-six weeks of rest and rehab, which puts Suzuki's availability for the start of the regular season in serious jeopardy. The 28-year-old has withdrawn from representing Team Japan at the upcoming World Baseball Classic to focus on his recovery and ensure he returns to full strength for the start of the season.

The Cubs have not set a specific timetable for Suzuki's return, but they are hopeful he will be able to take over right field by mid-April.

Trey Mancini:

With Seiya Suzuki injured, the Cubs are considering options to fill in at outfield.

One possible solution is to use Trey Mancini, who is primarily a first baseman but also has experience in the outfield. Mancini logged 162 innings in left field and 86 innings in right between his stops with the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros last season, and was a plus defender in the outfield overall.

If Suzuki is sidelined, Mancini could split time with Eric Hosmer at first base and also get at-bats as a designated hitter, while occasionally playing in right field. Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports