MESA, Ariz. – As two minor-league games played out late Tuesday morning, shortstop prospect Ed Howard cycled through batting practice on a separate field.
Howard, who underwent season-ending hip surgery last May, has been hitting and playing defense.
“Just a couple small hurdles to get over from a base-running standpoint,” Cubs vice president of player development Jared Banner said in a conversation with the Sun-Times.
Howard is one of several prospects who are recovering from injuries of various severity, including outfielder Alexander Canario, two-way player Nazier Mule and infielder James Triantos.
The Cubs drafted Howard, a Mount Carmel High School graduate, No. 16 overall in 2020. He struck out at a high rate his first season (30%) in Single-A Myrtle Beach, but he’d already dramatically cut down his strikeouts in a strong start to 2022 with High-A South Bend when he hurt his hip in a freak play on the bases.
Canario, who broke his left ankle and dislocated his left shoulder while playing in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, is progressing in his rehab but has yet to start baseball activities, Banner said. Canario had a breakout season last year, clobbering 37 home runs as he climbed from High-A, through Double-A, to Triple-A.
Mule was scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery Tuesday, according to Banner. The Cubs selected him in the fourth round of last year’s MLB draft.
Triantos underwent surgery last week to repair the meniscus in his right knee and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks post-op, the Sun-Times confirmed. His prognosis was better than expected. Triantos, lauded for his bat-to-ball skills, hit .327 in rookie ball and .272 in Single-A last year. He was the Cubs’ second-round draft pick in 2021.
Cubs 8, White Sox 5
• Lefty Drew Smyly gave up 10 hits and four earned runs in four innings. “I’m glad I got through spring training healthy,” he said, “And now it’s time to ... get going and do what I can to help the team.
• The Cubs’ lineup Tuesday included three Cubs who made the Opening Day roster: Smyly, catcher Tucker Barnhart and third baseman Nick Madrigal. Rookie right-hander Hayden Wesneski and catcher Luis Torrens appeared in a minor-league game on the backfields. The rest of the team flew out after Monday’s game.
• Wesneski got up to 84 pitches in a minor-league game Tuesday before getting on a flight to Chicago.
• On deck: Opening Day, Brewers at Cubs, 1:20 p.m. Thursday, Chicago, Marquee, 670-AM, Corbin Burnes vs. Marcus Stroman.