Why Cubs didn't call up Nico Hoerner in place of Matt Duffy

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Tim Stebbins
·1 min read
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Why Cubs didn't call up Hoerner after Duffy hit IL originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs found themselves down an infielder on Tuesday when Matt Duffy landed on the COVID-19 related injured list.

Duffy claimed one of the Cubs' final Opening Day roster spots at the end of spring training, shortly after the club sent Nico Hoerner to Triple-A Iowa as David Bote won the starting second base job.

With the 30-year-old hitting the IL on Tuesday, the Cubs had the option to call Hoerner back up. Instead, they added Ildemaro Vargas to the active roster.

Why? Allow Cubs manager David Ross to explain.

"He was here," Ross said pregame of Vargas. "It is a bench role that we had available, where Duffy was."

Under MLB's 2021 operations manual, clubs are permitted to carry five players on road trip "taxi squads." Vargas was already with the Cubs in Milwaukee, while Hoerner is training at the South Bend alternate site.

"I think Vargy made a lot of sense with him being here on the taxi squad, and trying to get the test back and not knowing how long Duff was going to be out," Ross said.

Fans may be clamoring for Hoerner to rejoin the club, but the Cubs want him to get consistent work each day, which might not be available to him in the big leagues right now as it is in South Bend.

So, adding Vargas in Duffy's place made more sense under the circumstances.

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