Ian Stewart’s balky left wrist has been bothering him for about a year, and he’s still trying to figure out what’s wrong with it.
The Cubs placed Stewart on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, and the third baseman said he’s planning to travel to the Cleveland Clinic for another opinion on the injury.
“In a way you almost hope there is something there because it has lingered about a year and nothing has ever really come up,” Stewart said. “So hopefully seeing a new guy, new eyes on my wrist, maybe he sees something a little different and should know early next week.”
The Cubs promoted infielder Luis Valbuena from Triple-A Iowa to take Stewart’s roster spot, and activated catcher Welington Castillo from the disabled list. Catcher Koyie Hill was designated for assignment.
Valbuena started at third base and drove in a run in Chicago’s 5-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. The Cubs claimed him off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays in April, and he hit .303 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 58 games with Iowa.
“We got him for a reason,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s done a really good job down there. He’s played well, hit well, he’s got power. He drives the ball for a little guy. He does a lot of good things that you want, especially on a National League team.”
Stewart hit 25 homers for Colorado in 2009 and 18 more the following year, but struggled with injuries last season and was shipped to Chicago in December with right-hander Casey Weathers in a trade that cost the Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin and infielder D.J. LeMahieu.
Colvin entered play on Thursday with a .291 batting average, seven homers and 19 RBIs in 46 games with the Rockies, compared with a .201 average, five homers and 17 RBIs in 55 games for Stewart.
Stewart was scratched from Wednesday’s 8-4 loss to the Tigers. He said his wrist feels fine much of the time, but certain movements cause the pain to pop up again.
“It’s more when it gets into certain positions,” he said. “I dive for a ball and have to put the weight on my hands to push myself up. Certain swing path. Balls in, not so much balls away. But nothing where it’s just hurting as we’re talking right here.”
Castillo was placed on the DL on May 22 with a sprained right knee. He has a .185 batting average in seven games.
The Cubs reacquired the 33-year-old Hill in a trade with Cincinnati in May. He also spent all or part of the past five seasons in the organization from 2007-11.
“He did a nice job. He always handles the pitchers well,” Sveum said. “It’s too bad. Hopefully we keep him in the organization for depth. But on the other hand, he’s such an ultimate professional you’d like to see him get claimed on waivers too and go straight to the big leagues.”