Stewart and Vitters Sidelined 10-14 Days

According to multiple reports on Saturday morning, an MRI on both Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters confirmed mild to moderate quad strains. Stewart and Vitters could be sidelined for 10-14 days.

While Josh Vitters was not expected to make the team out of Spring Training, basically ticketed for Triple-A Iowa, this is not good news for Ian Stewart.

As Dale Sveum has pointed out several times since camp began, the third base job is Ian Stewart’s to win, not lose, and this set back does not figure to help his cause. The Cubs needed to see a healthy Stewart on the field throughout the Cactus League.

Stewart told Paul Sullivan that he is not focused on the possibility of not making the team out of camp due to injury.

Stewart signed a non-guaranteed contract for $2 million for this season, and will have to prove to the Cubs he is worth a roster spot. The Cubs can still cut ties with Stewart prior to Opening Day, but it would cost them a portion of his $2 million salary. With Stewart possibly missing as much as 14 days, the March 16 deadline, in which the Cubs would pay him 1/6 of his contract if they cut him, seems a little unlikely. After March 16, if the Cubs decide to part ways with Stewart prior to Opening Day, it will cost the team ¼ of his $2 million contract.

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  • Ray Ray

    Any chance they reach out to Scott Rolen? He can at least platoon at 3rd with Valbueana for a year and would be a good influence in the clubhouse.

    • Neil

      Levine thinks the Cubs should reach out to Rolen, but he is not sure if Rolen would be willing to sign with non-contender.

      • paulcatanese

        Nice post Neil.
        Having said that, Rolen should take what he can get at this stage of his career, not like they are knocking the door’s down to get to him.
        And pay Stewart his 1/4 salary and just cut their losse’s, dosent appear that he is going to work out at all.

        • Brp921

          I don’t know the details of the structure of Stewarts contract Paul, but if they have to pay him 1/4 of the 2 million shouldn’t they at least see what he does through spring training? Since they aren’t probably contenders this year, I’m more of a proponent of playing him the whole year and seeing what shakes out. We gave up a little to get him so I’d hate to cut him loose only to see him go somewhere else and be successful. That would really be salt in a wound.

          • Neil

            You pretty much hit the details. If Stewart remains with the Cubs until the end of Spring Training, they will owe him $500,000 if cut. If they decide enough is enough by March 16, they owe him $333,000.

        • triple

          I agree with Brp as well… Might as well see what they got in him for the $2 mil. Besides, if Stewart can get and stay healthy and has a good first half of the season, maybe he can be valuable in a trade to a team in need of some 3b power at the deadline and bring back some more young pitching in return, especially if guys like Lake and Baez can play well in the minors this season.

    • Brp921

      I don’t see Rolen as the answer at third base at this point in his career. With the lack of third base options I think they need to give Stewart every chance to succeed. He has hit before when he was healthy. What do they have to lose?

      • 07GreyDigger

        Rolen is a waste of time. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to play until the Reds had moved on. That probably means he’s more out of shape than Stewart is. (Assuming he’s really out of shape)

        Injuries happen. Garza had a lat strain and he was raring to go, Stewart might have faced some bad luck. If he can be healthy and be average, he’s twice the third baseman than anyone on this roster. The question of course is if he can pull it off. He’s got a month to pull it together.

    • Aaron

      At this point, you almost have to think that will go to Lake if he hits over .300 and plays good defense this spring.

      The way I look at it, they have no other desirable options, which would include:

      1) Valbuena as starter

      2) Lillibridge (already virtually guaranteed the utility role according to Sveum)

      3) Maysonett? (don’t know if he has much experience at 3B)

      4) Watkins has 3B experience, so he might work, but like Lake, Vitters, etc., they don’t have 500 AB’s the FO wants at the AAA level before they’re given a shot.

      I prefer the Lake option, because he can play OF, SS, and 2B as well, plus he has power and speed, but then the FO would basically be admitting their method of 500 AB’s isn’t the end all be all, and they set a precedence. Unfortunately, I think we’ll see Maysonett as the other option, and he’d get the roster spot that is freed up from getting rid of Stewart.

      • Ripsnorter1

        What is Maysonett even doing on the Cubs’ ST? He hit .208 last year at AAA Nashville. He has no BA, no power, no speed, and he’s 31.

        He’s not the future, and he has not the skills for today. FORGETABOUTIT.

  • SuzyS

    One thing about Sveum, he doesn’t mix punches about his likes and dislikes….”Sveum says Stewart faces (cram session) to make team by time expected back.” (CCO Twitter).
    The tone of that doesn’t sound good at all. To me, it sounds like Stewart is definitely in Sveum’s dog house.
    Ok, I get that….What I don’t get is Sveum’s love of Valbuena….Am I missing something? I really don’t see Valbuena as anything more than a journeyman back-up.
    And yet, I get the feeling that Sveum wants Valbuena to be the starter at 3rd base. I really hope not.

    • Brp921

      I totally agree with you Suzy. To go a little farther, as I posted in an earlier article, I think Sveum has to be trying to light a fire under Stewart. He’s the best chance the Cub’s have of having a decent third baseman on both sides of the ball. To just let him go, in my opinion, would be a wrong move.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I’ll tell you what you are missing, Suzy:
      Valbuena is a .199 hitter with no power, no speed and just an average glove.

      He’s Dale Sveum in his younger days. He loves his look-alike.

      Stewart will make the team if he spends the entire ST on the DL. The Cubs are not going to throw him away after way, way, way overpaying for him. No how, no way.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    So a reportedly lazy, out of shape, injury prone guy doesn’t show up to spring training early and when he does, gets a quad strain. Gee, there’s a big surprise.

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