Chicago Cubs

Caratini out 4 to 6 weeks; La Stella returns to Wrigley

Chicago Cubs' Victor Caratini (7) celebrates with Jason Heyward (22) after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Chicago Cubs' Victor Caratini (7) celebrates with Jason Heyward (22) after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

CHICAGO – The Cubs’ worst fears were confirmed Friday when a CT scan revealed that backup catcher Victor Caratini suffered a fractured hamate bone in his left hand.

He will undergo surgery Monday and be lost to the Cubs for four to six weeks.

Caratini injured his hand swinging the bat in the bottom of the seventh inning of Thursday night’s 2-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He doubled later in the at-bat and was replaced in the game at the start of the eighth inning.

To replace Caratini, the Cubs recalled catcher Taylor Davis from Triple-A Iowa.

Caratini was 8 for 14 with a homer and five RBIs in six games this season.

“He was doing really well,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He worked so hard during camp. I spent a lot of time with him on that small-ball [pitching] machine and talking about different things. He was looking so good. He was pretty upset because he knew how well he was playing. He knew what was going on. It’s truly unfortunate.”

Davis, 29, played in 13 games in parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons for the Cubs, with five hits in 18 at-bats. The Cubs signed him as a nondrafted free agent in 2011. He was 2 for 14 with a homer at Iowa this year.

“Obviously, unfortunate events for me to be here, but I’m happy to be here,” Davis said. “Shoot, I’m probably one of the longest-tenured Cubs here, not in the big leagues, but I know most of the guys on the staff, so that definitely helps.”

Maddon said the Cubs may be looking outside for a veteran backup catcher, but for now, they’re happy with Davis.

Angels missing Trout: The Los Angeles Angels are in town, but they were without superstar outfielder Mike Trout, who is nursing a groin injury. He’s being evaluated in California, and it’s unlikely he’ll play this weekend. Maddon had high praise for Trout.

“Jerry West is the emblem for the NBA,” Maddon said. “They should start using [Trout] for MLB. I think he’s that good. I’ve done this for a couple years now. I’ve seen some guys who are just a cut above, and he is. Barry Bonds was the same way, Ken Griffey Jr. There’s others. But Trout, his whole game is different. He’s a game-changer on so many different levels. Beyond that, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ve ever met in your life. He could be like the Jerry West symbol of MLB.”

Angels manager Brad Ausmus told the L.A. media about Trout: “He’s going to get looked at today, and then we’ll make a decision as to whether he comes here tonight or whether he meets us in Texas. At this point, we don’t expect it to be an injury where he’s required to go on the [injured list]. It’s just a matter of how he feels and what the doc thinks.”

Welcome back, Tommy: The Cubs had a short video tribute to their former pinch-hitter, Tommy La Stella, whom they traded to the Angels for a minor league player last fall.

“I’m happy we’re doing that,” Maddon said. “He’s been a big part of what we’ve done the last couple years. He’s had so many big hits for us. He’s been a really productive member in the clubhouse, also. I know he went through that one moment, but if anybody’s learned from a life’s lesson, he has. I consider him a friend.”

La Stella refused to report to Triple-A Iowa in 2016, saying he wanted only to play for the Cubs. Maddon went to bat for La Stella, who worked through his problems and remained in the organization.

In the visitors' clubhouse, he told reporters it was good to be back at Wrigley Field.
“It’s cool,” he said. “It’s a special place. It’s a little different walking over to the first-base side, but it’s awesome. I had a lot of great times here with some really special people, so it’s cool to be back and play here.”

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