Cubs' Hoerner to miss rest of season

First-round pick strained elbow ligament with South Bend

Nico Hoerner put up a .327/.450/.571 slash line in an abbreviated first pro season. (Jerry Kime/MiLB.com)

By Vincent Lara-Cinisomo / MiLB.com | July 19, 2018 7:46 PM

Nico Hoerner was off to a great start as a pro. Unfortunately, his debut season is over.

The Cubs' first-round pick will miss the rest of the season after sustaining a strained ligament in his left elbow on Sunday diving for a ball for Class A South Bend, MLB.com reported.

Hoerner hit .327/.450/.571 in 14 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League and with Class A Short Season Eugene and South Bend.

The 24th overall pick in last month's Draft was in Chicago on Thursday to be examined by the Cubs medical staff.

"The Draft process takes a while and you're in Arizona and you want to play," he told MLB.com. "I finally got playing in South Bend and it's a great group there and I played four games and, unfortunately, I got hurt in the fourth one."

Hoerner signed in June and a week later made his pro debut, scoring three runs in the AZL.

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"It's just been going smoothly, going through workouts," he told MiLB.com. "Definitely didn't feel much different. I was wearing red, now I'm wearing blue ... using wood bats. It's different, but I've been using wood bats since middle school, so it's not a big thing."

While scouts regarded the 21-year-old as an average defender at shortstop, he was known for his bat during his career at Stanford. Talent evaluators were especially taken with the power he displayed hitting with a wood bat in the elite Cape Cod League, and he showed good bat-to-ball skills in striking out 73 times while drawing 47 walks in three years with the Cardinal.

"I like that people think of my bat in that way, but I've got a little to show at short, too," he said.

Hoerner will be sidelined four to six weeks but could return to play in the Arizona Fall League, a decision the Cubs have not yet made.

"It's not ideal, but it could be worse," he told MLB.com.

Vince Lara-Cinisomo is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @vincelara. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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