UDPATE: The Cubs have placed Fowler on the disabled list, according to a team announcement. The team promoted Carl Edwards Jr. in his place.
ORIGINAL: It’s not easy to lose a player like Dexter Fowler - though the Cubs have a way of making everything look easy. But Chicago may have to go without their center fielder for a time as the 30-year-old deals with right hamstring soreness.
Something clearly wasn’t quite right as Fowler ran to first base in the first inning of the Cubs’ 4-3 Saturday win over the Pirates. He exited the game, was kept out of Sunday night’s contest as well, and underwent an MRI, the results of which will determine the Cubs’ course of action, manager Joe Maddon told reporters.
"It would not be good if we had to miss him for a bit," Maddon said. "I think we could cover, but he's been all of that."
The Cubs’ talent pool at the moment is feeling a bit limitless, so Maddon’s confidence in someone else stepping up to fill Fowler’s position is understandable. However, his production has made replacing him all the more challenging; slashing .290/.398/.483, he is among the NL’s top ten in getting on base. He’s been drawing walks (35), knocking extra base hits (29), and occasionally hitting for power with seven home runs, all from the top spot in the most powerful lineup on the planet. Fowler has credited the repetition of playing every day as one of the things that has helped him find such a deep, effective groove, making his absence all the more damaging.
Rookie Albert Almora Jr., having recently joined the Cubs and appeared in 11 games, already has nine hits and four doubles in that span. He is a candidate to see an uptick in playing time, and served as Fowler’s back-up when the injury initially occurred. The Cubs also have Jason Heyward - who manned center on Sunday, with Kris Bryant moving to right - and Matt Szczur to shuffle around in the outfield.