Cubs Outfielder At Risk Of Injured List

Oblique strains are always a frustrating injury. Now it appears that the Chicago Cubs are trending toward having to place outfielder Seiya Suzuki on the injured list to begin the season. 

The second-year man came down with a "moderate" oblique strain three weeks ago, and has been working slowly toward a return, including starting light hitting via front-flip drills in the batting cage on the weekend. Before that, he could only swing non-contact, while also doing some medicine ball work. 

"Athletes in general -- he is one of them -- all these guys want to be back as soon as possible," said manager David Ross. "I give him a hard time every single day, just in fun. I know it's driving him crazy, but he's sticking to the plan. He's trusting the trainers and staying on path. They communicate every single day, and they stay within the boundaries but try to push those if he's feeling better."

As can be gleaned from Ross's comments, there is still no firm timetable for Suzuki's return, and "the expectation is that the right fielder will open the season on the injured list" according to

Suzuki got off to a rip-roaring start to his major league career last year, batting .333 with a 1.090 OPS through the season's first 18 games, with four home runs and 14 RBIs. He eventually settled for an injury-plagued year that finished at .262 with a .770 OPS, 14 HR, 46 RBIs. 

Photo: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports