The third base position continues to be a mystery for the Chicago Cubs.
Projected starter Ian Stewart has just begun to DH recovering from a strained quad he suffered in February. Stewart had numerous plate appearances in a minor league game on Thursday but came up to stiff to take his last at bat.
”I don’t think we are taking anybody (25 man roster) who isn’t one hundred percent” said manager Dale Sveum. “Whatever happens we are going to make sure he is ready to play every day.”
Stewart, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal in December, has been plagued by injuries the last three seasons. He underwent left wrist surgery last July and has not competed in a game since June 13 2012.
”He will have a couple of recovery days," said Sveum. “He will get some at-bats on the 17th. That is only at-bats, who knows when he is going to get on the field."
Infielder Luis Valbuena will most likely be the Cubs opening day third baseman if Stewart isn’t ready to start. Stewart said on Friday that he thinks he will be ready to claim his position on the team by opening day.
"I am glad he feels that way," Sveum said. “I can’t share anything because I haven’t seen him play. Confidence and feeling the best you can mentally has a lot to do with people's struggles at the plate. When you overcome some off those things that is a really, really good sign. Right now I can’t say that because he hasn’t played any games."