What Team Japan officials had been fearing in the last few days has materialized: they will be without one of their stars for the World Baseball Classic.
Chicago Cubs star Seiya Suzuki went down with an oblique injury and won’t be able to represent his country.
Seiya Suzuki has withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic due to an oblique injury, per multiple sources. pic.twitter.com/HRcOCMgQ4y
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) February 28, 2023
The exact diagnosis is a moderate left oblique strain.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there is no timetable for Suzuku to return to the Cubs, but these injuries usually take about a month or a month-and-a-half.
If that’s the case, his status for Opening Day is in serious question.
Not only that, but the team should be very cautious with his recovery because these ailments tend to have a high re-aggravation rate.
One bad move, and the player could be out for a longer period of time.
At the moment, the 28-year-old slugger is focused on resting and rehabbing his injury so he can return to the Cubs’ active roster as soon as possible.
Suzuki is one of the most important pieces on the roster.
He had a scintillating start last year, but suffered an injury and lost some steam.
Overall, his numbers weren’t bad at all: he hit .262/.336/.433 with 14 home runs, a 116 wRC+, and 2.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 446 plate appearances.
Those numbers are very far from what he could show in Japan, but are fine for a first-year player in MLB.
The real test will be seeing what he can do in his second go-round in the league.
He knows the pitchers, and he should be up to speed with MLB velocity at this point.
He could be a breakout candidate if he is 100 percent healthy.NEXT: MLB Legend Andre Dawson Comments On Tremendous Honor