Anthony Rizzo missed the last three games of the Brewers series with a stiff back and he was not in the lineup for Monday’s postponed home opener. Given the cold temps, you can understand why the Cubs would want to be extra cautious with their keystone corner man.
That precaution has now been stepped up, as MLB’s transactions page reveals that Rizzo has been placed on the 10-day DL retroactive to April 6. If he’s indeed ready to go after a minimum stay on the shelf, Rizzo would be activated on April 16, just in time for the start of the Cardinals series.
The Cubs have not officially announced the move and no corresponding roster move has shown up yet, but my money’s on Chris Gimenez. The veteran backstop was initially the favorite to break camp as part of the 25-man and he can offer additional depth as Victor Caratini figures to handle some first base duties.
Then again, the Cubs could opt to use hot-hitting Ben Zobrist as Budget Rizzo for the next week or so. Zobrist got some run at first this spring and was scheduled to start there Monday, so maybe he stays there and the Cubs opt to add outfield depth.
Rizzo has not experienced any flareups or setbacks over the last few days and actually says his back is feeling better. But with the Cubs not ready to put him in the lineup given the conditions at Wrigley, they had to make the move rather than play with only 24 men on the active roster for another few days.
Monday was the last day the Cubs would have been able to backdate Rizzo’s DL stint to last Friday, so they went ahead and made the move now to max out his rest while minimizing their time without him. Given all that, it seems much more likely they’ll go the temporary route with a fill-in like Mark Zagunis.