Seiya Suzuki was in the starting lineup for Saturday’s Cactus League opener, only to be scratched an hour or so before the game. “Left oblique tightness” was announced as the reason for the scratch.
Suzuki hasn’t played in any of the Cubs’ spring games so far and late Monday, the team announced he wouldn’t go back to Japan to play for his home country in the World Baseball Classic:
Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki has officially withdrawn from World Baseball Classic, per the team. Suzuki is currently dealing with a left oblique injury. More clarity on the severity of the injury expected to come Tuesday morning.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 28, 2023
This has to be a disappointment for Suzuki, who played for Japan in the last WBC in 2017. Obviously, more concerning for the Cubs is whether Suzuki will be out for a significant time and perhaps not be on the Opening Day roster.
We’ll know more later this morning:
David Ross and Seiya Suzuki are both scheduled to talk tomorrow morning here in AZ about Suzuki’s oblique injury and him withdrawing from the WBC. https://t.co/dATAnhHvvC— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) February 28, 2023
If it seems clear that Suzuki won’t be ready for Opening Day, the team could put him on the 60-day injured list retroactive to the first day that was possible, February 14, which would mean he could return by mid-April.
If that’s the case, that might give Brennen Davis a chance to make the Opening Day roster, as the Cubs would need a starting right fielder. Nelson Velázquez also might be in the running for that spot. Mike Tauchman and Ben DeLuzio, non-roster guys in camp, might also move up the outfield depth chart.
As always, we await developments and when Suzuki and David Ross address the media later this morning, we’ll have a full report here.
UPDATE: Here’s the report, which doesn’t really tell us much we didn’t already know.
Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki has been diagnosed with a moderate left oblique strain, according to the team. There is no immediate timetable for his return to game action.— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) February 28, 2023