CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Cubs slugger and first baseman Anthony Rizzo is expected to be out for at least five to seven days after spraining his ankle while playing the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
An MRI on Monday showed Rizzo had a moderate lateral right ankle sprain, and he will have to wear a walking boot.
Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said everyone will be stepping up to the plate, metaphorically and in many cases literally, in Rizzo’s absence.
“I really believe our guys will rally around this moment,” Maddon said.
But Maddon emphasized that the loss of Rizzo’s talent and skill will be felt, and there are limits to what the team can do with someone else on first base.
“He’s a really good baseball player. He fields his position so well. He throws really well as a first basement also, he’s a fearless thrower,” Maddon said.
Maddon noted that Rizzo had been on his way to another 100-RBI season, and is a “superb leadoff hitter.”
He added that Rizzo’s presence and skills might be too often taken for granted.
“When people see that nice comfy chair in the corner, they take it for granted,” Maddon said. “He is a bedrock, and he’s going to be missed.”
Rizzo said he is hoping for as speedy of a recovery as possible.
“I have every intention of trying to do everything I can with the training staff to get back on the field with the boys, so I think in a few days will tell us a lot more as to how everything reacts, but as of now, it doesn’t feel great,” Rizzo said. “The plan is to come back as soon as possible.”
Rizzo said he would like to be back in two or three days, although that is not likely.
“Whether it’s now or whether it’s Game 1 of the World Series, I want to play as soon as possible,” continued said.
Rizzo suffered the injury while fielding a bunt during the third inning of the Cubs’ Sunday game against Pittsburgh, which the Cubs won 16-6.
With a runner on second and none out, Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams bunted to the third-base side of the mound. Rizzo charged aggressively and rolled the ankle a couple of steps before fielding the ball. He threw wide to first base and then dropped to the ground in obvious pain.
Rizzo had to be helped off the field and could put no pressure on his right leg.
X-rays taken at Wrigley Field on Sunday showed no broken bones.
The injury could be a significant blow to the playoff-contending Cubs, who have already lost shortstop Javier Baez for the season with a fractured left thumb.
The 30-year-old Rizzo had been hitting .289 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs in 140 games this season.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)