Nico Hoerner diagnosed with small fracture in right hand as Cubs lose again to Reds

CINCINNATI — The Chicago Cubs are in wait-and-see mode with second baseman Nico Hoerner.

For one more day at least.

Further imaging revealed a small fracture in Hoerner’s right hand, which he suffered Thursday when being hit by a 96.5-mph fastball on a check swing. A couple of doctors provided the Cubs opinions on the injury, and they felt comfortable with Hoerner being OK to continue to play — if the swelling and pain subside.

When that will happen remains unknown as Hoerner was still experiencing both Saturday. It creates a murky timeline for his return to the lineup. He is considered day to day and did not play Saturday in a 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds after pinch running in the ninth inning of Friday’s 3-2 defeat. The doctors said the risk is very, very small that Hoerner’s fracture would become from worse from playing.

Manager Craig Counsell compared it to Cody Bellinger’s situation this season with his two rib fractures.

“All things considered, this is good news, really,” Counsell said. “And we’ll just kind of see where we go.”

The Cubs are weighing whether to put Hoerner on the 10-day injured list. Sunday appears an important day for that determination.

As of pregame Saturday, Hoerner had not attempted to throw a baseball, and swinging a bat previously bothered him following the injury.

“No matter what the injury is saying when the perfect time to come back from things I think is usually the hardest part of rehab,” Hoerner said. “Whether it’s a two-month thing or a two-week thing or a five-day thing, whatever it is, I think that’s usually the hard conversation. Counsell has done a nice job throughout the year whenever things have popped up with guys communicating how he sees things honestly.

“Obviously you don’t want to be in a position where you’re on the roster and limiting the manager’s options, so we’re going to go day by day and as far as predicting out it’s a little hard to say right now.”

Hoerner felt better Saturday than the day before, noting “it’s nice that there is a sign of opportunity of progress.” However, managing the pain and swelling and knowing how that will play out over the coming days complicates the situation.

“As far as day-to-day pain, I think that is something that you can make worse, unfortunately, so I think being aware of just managing that,” Hoerner said. “But I think that’s going to be more where my head’s at and making sure that I come back at a time that’s as soon as possible but also in a place that’s going to allow me to be a good version of myself and not deal with something that lasts for weeks or months on end.”

The Cubs also were without right fielder Seiya Suzuki in Saturday’s starting lineup. Suzuki remained sore after being hit with Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson’s throw on a successful steal of second base in the first inning Friday.

Suzuki initially remained in the game but was removed in the sixth when his left side tightened up. Counsell was optimistic Suzuki would be back in a day or two, adding he is not dealing with an oblique issue. The bruise is affecting Suzuki’s muscles on his swing.

“He kind of got hit on that side earlier in the week so it’s just kind of multiple shots to the back,” Counsell said. “He should improve pretty rapidly here though.”