For Cubs’ Nick Madrigal, 2nd half of trying season a fresh slate

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Fresh slate awaits Cubs' Madrigal after All-Star break originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

It’s been a trying first season with the Cubs for second baseman Nick Madrigal.

But when he returns from the injured list after the All-Star break, the 2018 No. 4 overall pick will have a two-and-a-half-month fresh slate to turn things around.

“I can’t think about the games I’ve missed or the time I’ve been away,” Madrigal said Thursday. “I’ve got to keep my mind in the right place.

“I’ve been anxious to get back out there but I’m not going to get down on myself at all. There’s [73] games left. I’m hoping to be in there for a good amount of those.”

Madrigal got off to a slow start offensively this season and has since been hampered by injuries.

He missed three weeks in May with a low back strain and went on the 15-day injured list June 15 with a left groin strain.

When he went down with the groin injury, he was hitting .222 and .513 OPS — well below the career averages he tallied in 83 games with the White Sox the previous two seasons.

“It’s definitely been a challenge. It's been frustrating at times,” Madrigal said of his 2022 campaign. “There's been a lot of different emotions, but I'm staying positive.”

Madrigal began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa last week but exited his third game after one plate appearance with groin tightness.

It was a precautionary move after Madrigal felt “a little bit of tightness” and wanted to play things safe.

“It wasn't anything that popped or anything weird,” Madrigal said. “It just felt tight.”

Madrigal will go to Arizona during the All-Star break and continue ramping up. He hopes to rejoin the Cubs right after the break but might play in a couple rehab games first.

He seemed to be getting into a groove after returning from the back injury, going 8-for-29 — good for a respectable .276 average that's closer to the numbers he put up with the Sox.

He's had a tough start to his Cubs tenure, but with half the season left, still has time to salvage 2022 and finish on a high note heading into 2023.

“I know there's a lot of games left,” Madrigal said. “I’m excited to get back out there and just gotta stay the course.”

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