Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart to miss rest of season
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org July 2, 2012 9:16PM
The Cubs’ Luis Valbuena smacks a tiebreaking three-run double in the seventh inning. | AP
The facts: 6:10, CSN, 720-AM.
The pitchers: Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46 ERA) vs. Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07).
Updated: August 4, 2012 6:30AM
ATLANTA — Whether Ian Stewart is the Cubs’ third baseman next season is up in the air. He won’t be for the rest of this one, though.
Confirming what Stewart tweeted early Monday, the Cubs said he will have exploratory arthroscopic surgery next week in Cleveland in an effort to diagnose and treat an injured left wrist that has bothered him for a year — and might go back to a compression fracture he suffered in 2006.
Stewart, who had been an offensive disappointment since being acquired from the Colorado Rockies in a four-player trade last winter that included outfielder Tyler Colvin, is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Whether he returns as the Opening Day third baseman next season involves more than the health of the wrist.
‘‘He’s got all the ability to do it,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘But I’d like to see some adjustments in the swing. Whether it was the hand or not, there still needs to be some adjustments.’’
Stewart hit .201 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 55 games for the Cubs.
‘‘But the defense is something that you’ll always want,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘And the power and the athleticism he brings, there’s just not many around anymore at third base that have those kind of attributes.’’
Colvin, the Cubs’ first-round draft pick in 2006, is hitting .303 with nine homers, 32 RBI and a .917 OPS in 176 plate appearances for the Rockies.
Demp’s big day
After throwing from a mound for the first time in more than two weeks, right-hander Ryan Dempster sounded as though he planned to rejoin to the rotation by the end of the weekend, though his return isn’t planned until after the All-Star break.
‘‘That was a big day for me,’’ said Dempster, who has been on the disabled list since June 16 with a strained lat muscle. ‘‘For as bad as I felt, I feel really good right now.’’
Barring a setback, he will throw from a mound again Wednesday. Sveum said Dempster might return as early as the first series back after the break (July 13-15).
Outfielder David DeJesus, who hasn’t started since waking up with a stiff neck Sunday, is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday.
† According to the Elias Sports Bureau, first baseman Anthony Rizzo is the first player with three game-winning RBI in his first five games as a Cub.